The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 25, 2013

Sue Ann Mason

Published 7-26-13


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Sue Ann Mason, 62, of Ringwood, died Monday, July 22, 2013, at her home. Sue was born May 26, 1951, in Enid, Okla., to Jack and Betty (Ratzlaff) Mason.

She graduated Valedictorian of Ringwood High School in 1969. She graduated with a B.A. in social science from Oklahoma State University in 1975.

She discovered a love for flying after taking flight classes as a student at Oklahoma State and excelled, and was soon hired by the University as a flight instructor.

In 1976, Sue was a member of the first class of female pilots to go through Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School, becoming one of the first female fighter pilots in the United States, primarily flying A-4 Skyhawks.

She was the first woman to land a T-2 Buckeye on an aircraft carrier, and was the Navy’s first female jet flight instructor. She left the Navy in 1983, with the rank of lieutenant.

After leaving the Navy, she returned to Ringwood, where she served as general office manager of 3M Dozer Service. She began her career as a commercial airline pilot upon being hired by Hawaiian Air Lines in 1985.

She joined Federal Express as a pilot in 1986, becoming a captain and traveling the world many times over during a distinguished 22-year career. During this time period, she and her son lived in Memphis, Tenn., Slidell, La., and Isle of Palms, S.C.

Sue returned home to Northwest Oklahoma in 2000, and after her retirement from Federal Express in 2009, devoted her time to raising cattle and spending time with friends and family.

She was active in the local community, including volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in abuse and neglect cases in Major County, and was a member of the American Legion Jaynes-Kennedy Post 340.

Sue was preceded in death by her father, Jack Mason, and fiancé, Gary Chriss.

She is survived by her mother, Betty Mason of Enid; her son, Martin Mason Tomlinson; daughter-in-law, Madeleine Wells of Silver Spring, Md.; her partner, Tama Cochran of Oklahoma City; and Tama’s children, Doc Cochran of Dallas, Texas, Chani Wuensch, husband Matt and daughter Hadley of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Chance Morris, husband Billy and children, Will, Adam, Matt, Ryan and Lanee of Oklahoma City; her former husband, Tommy Jim Tomlinson of Edmond; her sister, Marcia Mason Blom and husband John of Ringwood; her brother, Jerry Mason and wife Julie of Ringwood; her brother, Butch Mason and wife Diana of Meno; and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends all over the world.

Service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, July 27, 2013, in the gymnasium at Ringwood High School, 101 5th Street, Ringwood, OK 73768. Family visitation will be 5-8 p.m. today at Henninger-Hinson Funeral Home, 601 West Broadway Ave., Enid, OK 73701.

Flowers may be sent to Henninger-Hinson, but the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a memorial fund for a child advocacy organization, with which Sue volunteered her time. Checks should be made payable to GCCAC, with “Sue Mason Major County” in the subject line, and can be sent to Henninger-Hinson Funeral Home.

Condolences may be made to the family online at www.enidwecare.com.

(Submitted by family)