Bobby Joe Mason Foundation Donates Stipends To Area Sports & Youth Organizations
Recipients of the latest round of monetary stipends granted by the Bobby Joe Mason Foundation were recognized during the final home Centralia Orphan basketball game on February 23 at Trout Gym. This was the 9th year that the athletic stipends were given to Centralia Sports and youth organizations by the Bobby Joe Mason Foundation.
According to committee member Bunny Garrett, “Because the annual golf tournament was a great success and we had several major sponsors for this year, the Foundation was able to increase the monetary stipends to organizations as well as a scholarship through the Kaskaskia College Foundation.”
Major sponsors for the golf tournament were Correct Care Solutions – Nashville, TN; Headliner Market Group – Miami, Florida; TEES (Teens Exercising Extraordinary Success) – Miami, Florida and a donor who wishes to remain anonymous from Centralia. Other area sponsors and contributors were Jim Danielwicz, Winning Edge, Centralia High School, Rose Printing, the Centralia Sentinel, several area banks, Scott Smith for his wonderful culinary skills, Kaskaskia College, Dr. Keglar founder of the BJM Foundation; all the hole and cart sponsors and volunteer Larry Nichols who has been with the Foundation since its inception.
“The BJM Foundation continues to promote the legacy of Bobby Joe Mason in that it assists and encourages the young people of the community in their dreams and aspirations and we will continue to support those organizations that work with the youth,” Garrett said.
Those organizations receiving the stipends are: Super Sonic Softball League, headed by Keith Kessler; Centralia Youth Football, headed by Reid Shipley; Centralia Community Youth Center headed by Director Herb Williams; Centralia Community Youth Center Wrestling Team headed by John Pate; Junior Orphans Basketball team headed by B.J. Lamb; and Youth Heat basketball League which is comprised of 4 teams in various age groups and headed by Scott Mass.
The golf tournament, which draws local and out of town participants, was held on August 12, 2017 at the Colonial Golf Course run by its owner Heather Day. The 2018 tournament is scheduled for August 4 at Colonial Golf Course.
Bobby Joe Mason was a four-sport star in football, track and field and basketball at Centralia Township High School. He went on to play basketball at Bradley University, earning his way onto the school’s 15 member Team of the Century.
Mason was a U.S. Army veteran and served in Vietnam from 1960-1962.
Professionally he played with the famed Harlem Globetrotters from 1962-1974, playing alongside Meadowlark Lemon, Wilt Chamberlain, Hubert “Geese” Ausbie, Fred “Curly” Neal and Marques Haynes. He took up golf in the later years of his Harlem Globetrotter Days.
After retiring, he made his home in Springfield, serving as director of sports activities for the Springfield Housing Authority, where his interest in young people and their achieving their goals in life continued. Mason died in Springfield on July 4, 2006.