Mason, Nathaniel (Nat) Thayer (11/21/2019)

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The following is from Tex Talmadge:

We are saddened to get word that Nat Mason ’69 passed away in London on November 21, 2019.
Nat and I had much in common, as we were great admirers of Professor Slesnick (Math 3) and we tackled Chem 3 at the same time. My best memory of Nat is that he was an exceptional student. On our first Chem 3 exam, which I failed, Nat scored 103 — even getting the extra credit question right! Obviously what we did not have in common was a gift for scholarship, Nat being brilliant, but we shared our love of the College.

Nat created an amazing life after Dartmouth, traveling the world and even spending some time in Texas — where he was stationed as a laboratory technician after being among the last military draftees in our generation in 1971. He served in a M*A*S*H Unit in Germany, lived in Japan for a time, and then moved to London. His degree from Tuck School served him well in the world of finance, where he focused on banking with Mellon Bank and the Arab Bank of Amman, Jordan.

In 2001 Nat moved back to the USA, a return prompted by a desire “to keep my mother off the road,” he said. For many years he served as financial director for the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance, the voice of Cape Cod’s fishing community, working to ensure our future livelihood within a balanced ocean ecosystem. Whether you knew Nat or not, you will enjoy clicking that link to see what a remarkable organization he served so well. (Donations in Nat’s memory can be made to: Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman’s Alliance (CCCFA), 1566 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633, USA.)

Many of us remember Nat as a lacrosse player, but we shouldn’t be surprised that he was an avid swimmer and sailor. While living in London he twice completed a 10.5 mile swim of Lake Windemere, the largest lake in England. He loved sailing his Marshall catboat, a classic Cape Cod favorite among sailors. His family said that he loved to round the Harwichport Bell in a stiff southwest breeze.

Nat was devoted to community service, and over the years he worked with organizations devoted to conservation, outdoor life, and of course the swimmers of the world.

I experienced a very touching moment when putting in a call to speak with Sara, Nat’s wife of 49 years, because (as is so often the case) my unidentified number went to voicemail. To my surprise, the voice that came on the line was Nat himself, with his gentle baritone voice inviting me to leave a message. I was for a moment overcome with sadness, and I struggled a bit to leave my name and number, but it was a very special kind of reunion after so many years. There is a saying down here in Texas: “Never was a Texas boy what buried an old friend that didn’t wish he knew him better."

If you have memories, stories, reflections, or other contributions about our classmate’s remarkable life, please send them along.


John M. Talmadge ‘69