Barbara Mason-Urschel

Barbara Mason-Urschel

My mother, Barbara Mason-Urschel was born on April 30, 1928 in Racine, Wisconsin to Marjery and Nick Burrell.

She and her older brother Jim were raised in Madison, WI near Lake Wingra park, which inscribed in her a love for the beauty of the natural world, love she carried all her life.

Barbara earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Madison and later a graduate degree in LA where she moved after marrying her first husband, Jack Mason with whom she had two children: Reid Mason and Holaday Mason.

Barbara worked for 30 years as a teacher and later as a school psychologist in the LA city school system. She loved giving to children and continued to mentor kids until the last year of her life.

In 1981 Barbara wed her beloved William Urschel in the back garden of a friend in Anacortes. She and Bill lived and were cherished in the Orcas Island community. They fostered and were committed participants in the arts and in humanistic work promoting spiritual and interpersonal growth such as Non Violent Communication.

She was a free spirit who valued above all other things personal growth and true intimate connections in her relationships. She drew this out of others and cultivated it.

Barbara was a natural artist who all her life drew and painted. She experimented with different visual art mediums with great passionate gusto. Her interaction with artistic self-expression was congruent with her desire for a true intimacy in living.

Mother’s love, William Urschel passed away in 2002 and she remained on Orcas tenaciously enjoying the beauty of the island and building a life on her own which included writing a book chronicling Bill’s death called “From Grief to Grace.”

Barbara’s own death, on the Spring Equinox, March 21, 2011, left her two grown children, Reid Mason and Holaday Mason, as well as her step-daughters, Susan Winters and Nancy Reas and her friends in a world less bright for having lost a beloved mother and true friend.

Please join us in celebration honoring my mother’s spirit and life if you feel so called at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 30 at The Orcas Island Senior Center.

Thank you and blessings in light.

Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Barbara, please sign the online guest register at

Submitted by Barbara Mason-Urschel’s family.