This year’s choice of Spring Lake Park Tower Days grand marshal was an obvious choice, except to the grand marshal herself.
“I couldn’t believe it. I said ‘no,’” said Councilmember Jeanne Mason. “I am not that much of a celebrity.”
But after much pleading by Mayor Cindy Hansen and Park and Recreation Director Marion Rygwall, on the behalf of the Tower Days Committee, Mason relented.
Normally, the honor of being the grand marshal goes to a radio or television celebrity or a military service person. “People more important than me,” Mason said.
“It is very special. It’s an honor.”
Although Mason is this year’s grand marshal, do not expect her to give up her normal Tower Days routine.
Mason plans to help set up for the June 9 activities, organize the arts and craft booths and help with clean up at the end of the day, even though she is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
“I’ll be busy all day,” Mason said.
Mason has lived in the city since 1961.
She was a Spring Lake Park School District 16 board member for six years, during which time she became a liaison with the Opportunity in Emergency Care in 1976 and still continues to volunteer with the group.
Mason was elected to the city council in 1981.
But this will be her last term.
“It is time for me to move on. I will have served the city for 32 years and it is time for retirement,” she said.
Mason also serves on the Park and Recreation Commission, Tower Days Committee, North Metro Cable Commission and Northstar Corridor Board.
After retiring from Unity Hospital in 1993, Mason worked for Allina Health Systems at Mercy Hospital for Sister Kenny Rehab and Kenny Kids and for the Spring Lake Park School District in special education department and the school offices.
According to her biography, Mason is also involved with the Kraus-Hartig VFW senior group.
While this is Mason’s first time as Tower Days’ grand marshal, it is not the first time she has been an ambassador for the event.
In 1996, Mason was the Tower Days Senior Queen and later became the Minneapolis Aquatennial Senior Queen in 1999.
Mason is currently the Minneapolis Aquatennial Senior Alumni Association president and a member of the Senior Singers.
Mason is also a member of her church’s choir and is active in performing with community theater.
Over the years Mason has been recognized with various volunteer awards, including WCCO’s Good Neighbor Award, two Tower Days’s Outstanding Service to Our Community awards and a Creating Community Heroes Award.
“Jeanne is just a peach,” said Sharie Linke, park and recreation program manager.
Mason has done more for this community than most will ever know, she said.
“She is a really good ambassador for Spring Lake Park,” Linke said.
“Jeanne is just a cool chick.”
Mason will be in the June 6 parade and be present for the June 9 events at Lakeside Lions Park, Pleasantview Drive and 79th Avenue.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org