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Vernon D. “Buzz” Mast, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Mayfair Retirement Village, Columbus, Ohio after a short illness.
Buzz was born November 2, 1925 to David L. Mast and Amanda (Hochstettler) Mast in Salt Creek Township, Holmes County, Ohio. David and Amanda had 5 sons (Buzz was the third) and a daughter.
During the Great Depression, he helped provide for his family by farming for his Father and Mother and extended families in Wayne and Holmes counties. In his early teens, Buzz worked for a coal mine as a truck driver. Because Buzz suffered polio as a young boy, he was ineligible for the military. His brothers served in various branches of the military, but Buzz continued to work on the families’ farms and completed 10th grade at Wooster High School. As an older teen, he got a job at a service station in Orrville, Ohio where he started working on cars and trucks. He was always “tinkering” with motors and engines and innovated such things as lighted hood ornaments, side lights that lighted when turn signals were used, radio speakers in the rear window, curb finders, static straps – things that were virtually unheard of in the area at the time.
Welker Smucker took notice of this young mechanic and, soon, Buzz worked as Welker’s personal mechanic. Later he served as the Lead Fleet Mechanic for The J.M. Smucker Company’s trucks.
On November 20, 1948, Buzz married Doris Louise Schaaf in a modest ceremony at Wooster (Ohio) Methodist Church and eventually bought a home outside of Dalton, Ohio. Buzz began driving truck as an owner/operator steel hauler to provide for his young family which meant spending much of his time at home catching a few hours of sleep and working on the truck readying it for the next load. His children (Darryl, Sheila and Julie) knew that if they wanted to spend time with their Dad, they needed to be in the garage working on the truck and learning how to use the tools to help him! His brothers, “Hank” and “Donnie” were also owner/operators with their own trucks – there were many great times spent at brother Hank’s truck garage and all three brothers working together and the families sharing time together.
Buzz determined that driving a “company truck” would allow more time at home and less time working on his truck. He sold his truck and started driving TransAmerican’s trucks. His parents retired and moved into a new home in Dalton. His two eldest children graduated from Dalton High School. When Buzz was home, he would try to watch his son, Darryl, play football and work on Boy Scout projects or daughter, Sheila, play in the band, perform as majorette or participate in scholastic honors events. Buzz and Doris gathered the family in the car for vacations to spend time together. Of course, Buzz would always want to use Interstates (he knew the fastest routes) and Doris would want to see the country on the back roads: the kids didn’t care, as long as they got to spend time with their parents!
In 1975, TransAmerican transferred Buzz to Toledo, Ohio. Buzz, Doris and Julie moved to Perrysburg, Ohio. TransAmerican soon filed for bankruptcy. Buzz worked for Roadway and, finally, Stroh’s Beer at the time he retired in 1982 as a Teamster. Over those many years on the road, he received many safety awards and recognition for timeliness and miles traveled “accident-free”. Buzz and Doris became empty-nesters. Together they enjoyed trips to Nova Scotia in autumn, Florida to see family, Twitty City, Nashville, Atlanta, Lexington Kentucky Horse Park, Disney World, various national and state parks, and many small towns through almost every state in the Union. They visited daughter, Julie, and her husband, Lyle in Alaska. After Doris passed, Buzz visited Alaska twice more and worked at Lyle’s business as a Mechanic for 3 months. His last Alaska visit was during a cold January when he did something he’d only dreamt of – travelled from Anchorage, Alaska to Seattle, Washington on the Al-Can Highway. Julie and Lyle drove and Buzz enjoyed the winter scenery and solace. He no longer enjoyed traveling alone.
Buzz had the unique ability to fix any engine or motor and would help his neighbors, family and friends with their “problems”. He never charged for the advice or fix, instead he enjoyed the time he spent talking or working with people. Buzz believed in a modest lifestyle and gave his family the value of stability, a wonderful work ethic, the drive to succeed, attention to detail, importance of common sense, faith in God and love of family.
A life well-lived. A good, honest, hard-working, man who loved God, family and friends passed on to be with his beloved wife of 50 years, family and friends who had gone before. Buzz was preceded in death by wife, Doris; parents David and Amanda; brothers Elmer “Pete”, Henry “Hank”, Donald “Donnie”, and Junior David “Junie”; sister, Erma.
He is survived by children Darryl (Alice) Mast, Sheila (Bill Hoyt) and Julie (Lyle) Aune; grandsons, Marc Mast and Brian (Ellie) Mast, and great-grandchildren Avery and Hayden Mast; many cousins, nephews, nieces and generations of the same. He is missed.