Myra Mason (12/12/1936-3/19/2020) was born in Indianapolis Indiana to Franceda Cross and Charles DeBow Jr. Her Marriage in 1955 to Harold Harris Jr produced a son, Harold (Robby) Harris. Her second marriage in 1970 to Dr. Eugene Mason produced a daughter Gena Virginia Mason, now deceased.
Myra entered Indiana University as a theatre major and she began teaching in the dept of Speech and Drama at Kennedy King College. Myra completed school with a PhD and Masters in higher education from the University of Chicago. Most of her work in higher education coincided with the push to immerse underrepresented students in higher education. Myra's service to the community included Associate Professor of Community Dentistry/Minority Affairs at the IU School of Dentistry, as well as the statewide Manager for Educational Support Servicing through Ivy Tech. She served all students as an Assistant Professor and Director of Diversity and Minority Affairs at Purdue University West Lafayette.
Myra had rich and varied experiences in higher education and looked upon the following the experiences and had special pride in some of her favorite things:
As the Assistant Commissioner of the Indiana Private School Accrediting Commission she assisted the late father Boniface Hardin in establishing Martin College. She became a member of the schools governing body and assisted in helping the college gain university status.
Community work during these years included serving on the board of Indiana Black Expo. She was a Docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She served for 25 years as a chair of the education committee that selected scholarship recipients.
She poured her heart into organizing the national NAACP ACTSO awards where she helped identify then accompany local high school students to complete in 21 areas of competition in conjunction with National NAACP conventions.
At Purdue University she developed a special friendship with the late Rabi Gideon Cagel whom she co-chaired several Holocaust remembrance conferences.
Her peers recognized her leadership by electing her as founding chairperson of the Indiana Coalition of Blacks in Higher Education. She was also a proud member of The Indianapolis Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen to honor her father who was in the first graduating class of Tuskegee Airmen.
Myra is predeceased by her beloved daughter Gena. Survivors include son Harold Harris III, grandsons; Harold (RJ) Harris IV, Chase Elijah Harris, granddaughters; Tonica Harris, Teena Harris, and great granddaughters; Liliana Raja Deweese, and Emmalyn Grace Harris. She also leaves many other loving friends and family members.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Indianapolis Marion County Library Branch, or to St. Richards Episcopal School.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at noon at Crown Hill Cemetery.
As a former classmate I remember as always poised. Dr. DeLores McGavock-Gordon, PHD..
She was a wonderful and giving person. I worked with her as a member of the Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP and assisting her with ACT-SO. Her spirit, kindness and love for children growth in the arts will me missed. Rest my fellow activist,. you deserve it..
I enjoyed working with Myra as a docent at the IMA. She was so gracious. I particularly remember our talks about her family and the passing of her dear daughter. Blessings to the family.
She was such a classy and precious lady. My condolences and deepest sympathies to her family.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Myra. We shared a presentation in class at Light of the World Christian Church pertaining to the Black Presence in the Bible. She was so intelligent and will be missed.