Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

April 21, 2014

Brookwood dedicates Mason Green

THOMASVILLE — As Heywood Mason sat on the front row of chairs set up on what is now known as “Mason Green” on the Brookwood School campus, he was surrounded by his three daughters, his son and five of his 11 grandchildren.

 The standing-room-only crowd that gathered on the clear, cool Thursday morning was there to honor Mason and his late wife Edie.

 At the podium, Ann Larson, who taught at Brookwood for 40 years, shared stories of Hey and Edie Mason’s nearly 65 years together, before his beloved wife’s death three years ago. She talked about their home, Susina Plantation, where actress Faye Dunaway once visited.

 “In preparing for a role, she came to meet Edie and study the speech and mannerisms of a true Southern woman of charm,” Larson said.

 This and several other shared remembrances of his late wife brought tears to the eyes of Hey Mason, but he maintained his gentlemanly composure with hugs and pats from two of his daughters seated next to him.

 “Later, the Masons moved to the Painted Pony – a lot of you have had school field trips or birthday parties there – to a home that Hey built with his own hands,” Larson remarked.

 Larson told about Mason visiting her at Brookwood after his wife’s death to read the memoir he’d written about his and Edie’s love story.

“It was the story of a shy, lanky country boy from a fine old Thomas County family, who at age 16 had fallen in love at first sight, only to be drafted into the conflict of World War II and be taken far away from this girl, a completely unattainable prize in his eyes,” Larson said.

 But he did indeed eventually attain that “prize” in a long-lasting marriage.

 “This beautiful green where we gather today is a fitting symbol,” Larson concluded. “It represents all that Hey Mason and Edie accomplished by hard physical labor and the sweat of their brow. There were many others with them to cut, haul and lay the sod — the first parents, first students and first teachers of Brookwood. Today, you will see the Masons’ dedication remembered with a permanent reminder of their contribution.”

Interim Brookwood Headmaster Tom Johnson told the audience that Mason had served as the college preparatory school’s first chairman of the Board of Directors.

 “Edie and Hey Mason were tireless in their efforts to create Brookwood School,” Johnson said.

 “They opened their home, Susina, to all Brookwood groups. They were responsible for bringing every Cairo family into Brookwood – that amounted to one-third of the student population back then.”

 Hey Mason is remembered by those who participated in creating the original Brookwood campus as the one who “drove a tractor, moving the dirt and debris, clearing the land of the tall pines,” Johnson said.

“Hey brought in sod from Boxhall, with Edie at his side, and all volunteers worked under a self-imposed deadline for the opening of school. Everyone laid the sod, planted shrubbery, and Hey directed the weekend projects for the school grounds.”

 Dr. Philip Watt, among Brookwood’s very first students and a longtime member of the Board of Directors, presented the plaque that will be placed prominently on Mason Green.

 “This green reflects a true labor of love by Hey and Edie Mason whose foresight, commitment, and generosity helped to found Brookwood School, and whose leadership by example spearheaded the transformation of raw land into a beautiful campus,” he said.

Following the ceremony, the audience attended a reception on the patio of Hines-Watt Hall.


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