Charlie Mason was born in Madison on March 31, 1931. He attended Madison City Schools and graduated from Madison High School in 1948. He matriculated at Clemson University in 1948 and graduated in 1952 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering and was commissioned into the USAF.
He trained as a fighter pilot and earned the apt moniker Charlie Brown. During his service, he traveled the world and was stationed in Indiana, Korea, Louisiana, Turkey, Germany, Texas, and England.
It was while serving in Alexandria, LA, that he met his future wife, Janet Clay of Baton Rouge, LA, who was no doubt impressed when he would fly low over the LSU campus to let her know he was back from an assignment. They were married on December 30, 1961, and promptly moved to Ankara, Turkey, where they began their family.
After 15 years of service, Charlie returned to Madison where he joined his father running the Mason family agricultural businesses.