Jon Dale Mason, a 42-year resident of Bonner County, passed away peacefully on Dec. 16, 2018, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Jon was born July 15, 1951, in Chicago, Ill., and even at an early age, he showed his creative abilities, leading his Boy Scout troop in kite making. He built sand shakers along the Columbia River for arrowheads and beads. He learned to read music and play piano and guitar. At 18, he rebuilt a 1938 Harley and, while at Yakima Junior College, he met a farm girl whom he would marry.
Jon and his wife, Raven, took adventures to rock festivals and Rainbow Gatherings. A college friend offered him a business on Vashon Island, Wash., called the Far Out Pipe Company. Through this business, he saved enough to buy land in North Idaho. The pipe company still exists at the Pike Street Market.
In 1976, Jon and his small family moved to raw land off Gold Creek Road where he and his wife and two babies lived in an 18-foot tepee, even during a winter when the temperature dropped to 20 below zero. After building a cabin and shop, Jon started his business known as Thunder-head Auto-motive.
The family also followed the Grateful Dead and earned money selling T-shirts. The Rainbow Gather-ings strengthened Jon’s belief in love and faith in fellow man and in living off the land. Jon had a big green thumb and grew huge gardens. He was an advocate of NORML and stood up for his rights on pot reform. In 1993, Raven and Jon separated but remained good friends.
Jon then met his wife of 20 years, Susan Keating, after they both realized they had met a number of years before. Together they made a home in a small house on Colburn Culver Road, and again, there were gardens to be planted and autos to be repaired. Jon also worked at Shingle Mill for eight years and enjoyed steady paychecks.
Music was still a good part of Jon’s life and Susan recalls many nights of jam sessions and drum circles so that others could be taught the universal language of music. At the last Rainbow Gathering they attended, Jon found himself speaking to a large group of new friends as he told them the real life story of the White Buffalo which many had thought was only a legend. Jon was there when it happened. Later, Jon repaired an earthen oven for Crucial Camp so food could be prepared for the gathering.
As he got older, Jon had some physical limitations but he did not let them slow him from repairing vehicles, helping friends and living off the property.
And he never slowed mentally for he was never about quitting. He always said, “How are we gonna get to where we have to be now? So let’s get there. Let’s do this thing. Let’s get her done!”
Jon inspired many friends to try to leave this world a better place. He was known to many who followed his lead as one of the first “free spirits.”
Jon was preceded in death by his daughter, Erin Star; and his father, Robert Mason.
He leaves behind his daughters, Jessica Mason and Adrianne Mason; his sister, Dawn (Bill); and his brother, Neal; his mother, Beatrice, and Aunt Midge; and five grandchildren, Rayanna, Joshua, Michelle, Arron and Paige. He also leaves behind his wife, Susan and her children, Scarlet, Benjamin and Pamela.