Dick was born on March 21, 1925, and passed away on June 20, 2016 at the age of 91. He was born in Jackson, Michigan, the eldest of two children, to Howard P. and Viva Belle (Wright) Mastin. He married his wife Jean in 1946.
During World War II, Dick enlisted in the U.S. Navy – Air Force. He was nearing the end of his pilot training, where he was learning to land on aircraft carriers, when the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs and the war in the Pacific ended.
After the war, Dick began his studies at Michigan State University, married Jean Lewis, and together they started a family. In 1948 he joined the Michigan Department of Transportation (at that time, the Michigan Department of State Highways), after securing his degree in civil engineering. He worked as a highway engineering aide on such projects as the I-75 and US-27 expressways. Dick worked his way up through the department and eventually retired from his post as Director of the Local Government Division where he was responsible for allocating nearly $450 million in state and federal money to local units of government. At the conclusion of his 35 year career, MDOT honored him by renaming the Austin Blair roadside park on US-127 south of Jackson in his honor.
Dick was an avid sportsman. Besides being a big fan of MSU Spartan athletics, and the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings, he also enjoyed deer hunting, especially at the isolated Upper Peninsula cabin that he built with his sons in Gogebic County. He play golf for many years, and his last home was built next to one of the fairways of Eldorado Golf Course in Mason. For many years Dick went on fishing expeditions in Canada with a group of friends in pursuit of whitefish.
He built a cottage on the north shore of East Twin Lake in Lewiston, his “favorite place on earth”. As his family grew to include grandchildren and great grandchildren, he added on to the cottage which became a very comfortable home away from home. He spent countless hours trolling the waters of East Twin Lake for walleye, bass and perch, and everyone looked forward with great anticipation to the mouth-watering deep-fried fish dinners he prepared. Dick showed a tremendous amount of patience when he took his kids, and eventually their spouses and his grandchildren, out with him to teach them all the fine art of fishing. He was proud of his little piece of heaven and loved to take friends and relatives for cruises around the lake.
Dick worked hard all of his life and there was never a project that he was afraid to tackle. From plumbing jobs to electrical work; from fishing boat motor, lawn mower, or snowblower engine repair to building fireplaces, if it was broken or needed to be built, he would try his best to fix it or construct it, and usually succeeded.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Donna Barnes and her husband Francis. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Jean, three children, Steve Mastin, Sue (Steve) Martin, and Randy (Barb) Mastin, six grandchildren, Dan (Jenn) Martin, Brenda (Kevin) Burtovoy, Lynn (Nate) Dixon, Kellie (Jeremy) Doerr, Beth (Tyler) Holtz, and Laura (Peter) Piper, thirteen great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
The family would like to thank the staff of Green Acres Assisted Living Center in Mason and Heartland Hospice Services for their friendliness, compassion and care during Dick’s final weeks. Cremation has taken place. A family graveside service will be held in Jackson at a later date.
Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Lakeshore Division, 1755 Abbey Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823 or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association, 24359 Northwestern Hwy, Ste 225, Southfield, MI 48075.