George Mason

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George Mason was founder of Armenian Newspaper and renowned financier.

Mason was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 9, 1930; he was raised and lived his adult life in L.A. and Fresno.

Mason earned his bachelor's degree in Slavic studies from USC and later went on to earn a master's degree in political science from Columbia University.

He served in the U.S. Air Force as a Staff Sergeant from 1951 to 1954.

In 1958, Mason founded the first English-written Armenian newspaper called the California Courier in Fresno and served as editor until 1970.

"I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that George's California Courier was and will be remembered as a journal of Armenian life in California. It reflected his pride in his identity and his heritage at a time when it was not fashionable to do so. George Mason was a man of great integrity and sincerity. He will indeed be missed," said Vartan Oskanian, by 2005 Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

"George left a legacy for the Armenian community in the written word. He is a tribute to the Armenian experience in America that largely emerged from nothing to become a vibrant and active community," said Raffi Hamparian, a member of the board of directors of the Armenian National Committee of America.


After leaving the paper, Mason entered the world of finance. He worked as an executive for Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Investment Co. for several years in the 1970s before joining Bear, Stearns & Co. in Los Angeles in 1973. Mason was a senior managing director at Bear, Stearns & Co. from 1973 until his death.

"George was not only highly gifted in his understanding of the world of finance, but he was also a warm and compassionate person who was loved and respected by all who knew him," said Renee Fourcade, as for 2005, Bear, Stearns Managing Director who, for the past 18 years was Mr. Mason's close business partner. "Every client was family to George and nothing was more important to him than earning the confidence and satisfaction of all those who entrusted him."


From 1973 Mason also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Mirage Resorts, member of the Audit, Stock Option and Bonus committees. Since 2000 he was a member of the Board of Directors of MGM MIRAGE, and from 2002 also member of the Executive Committee of MGM MIRAGE.

By 2005 MGM MIRAGE owned the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay casinos in Las Vegas.

"Mason was an incredibly influential figure in the gaming and finance industries. With his remarkable business instincts and extraordinary intellect, he made valuable contributions to our Board of Directors for many years. Personally, he had a warm and generous spirit and he will be missed by the MGM MIRAGE family and so many others whose lives he touched," said Terry Lanni, by 2005, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM MIRAGE.


At Bear, Stearns, Mr. Mason created a newsletter for clients that he looked forward to writing each month. Some of the top "Masonisms" published by the prolific writer included:

"Borrow from pessimists -- they don't expect it back."

"If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

"Here it is. In 2004, the market will go down dramatically. But it could also continue to go up dramatically. The final possibility is that it will just go up or down a little bit or stay about the same. That is my opinion and I'm sticking to it!"


George Mason passed away October 5, 2005. He was 74. He was being treated for cancer at the time of his death.

Mason is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sally, and their six daughters, Cassandra Goehner, Melanie Goodman, Teresa Mason, George Ann Mason, Dina Chakalian, and Mary Mason; and by his sister, Shirley Rakoobian.

Memorial services were held on Saturday, October 8, 2005 at St. James Armenian Church, Los Angeles, CA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in memory of George John Mason be made to: Nevada Cancer Institute, Continued Research in the Field of Bladder Cancer, 10000 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89135.


Sources

  • Jon Thurber, Times Staff Writer, George J. Mason, 74; Founder of Armenian Newspaper, Financier, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2005