Celebrity Obituaries

Review this week's trending celebrity news stories

Share This Obituary

Memories & Candles

“I know that no words are adequate but my thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. What a wonderful life story. God bless. ”
1 of 6 | Posted by: Cindy Woolley - Boston

“Brigid, Maura, Brian, Cece, I remember many weekends we would spend with your Mom & Dad. We would sit around the kitchen table, just talking about...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Barb & John Schooley

“We are very sad to hear of Cecil's passing, but do have wonderful memories of his vibrant, loving life. We are with you in spirit, and pray that...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Steve & Colleen Stasheff

“Thinking of all of the Mast kids at this time. Troy and I remember many happy times spent at the Mast household and will always remember the kindness...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Troy & Becky (Goerner) Bach

“My condolences to the Mast family. Remember smiles and joyous moments. Put behind you frowns and sad times. Only those smiles will make you feel at...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Rashelle Brown - Boston, MA

“To all the Mast Family and Friends: May he rest in peace. Keeping you all in my prayers. Anne Marie ”
6 of 6 | Posted by: Anne Marie MacArtain

Cecil Bernard Mast, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, died on Sept. 16 at Hammersmith House Nursing Care Center in Saugus, Mass. His death was the final stop in a long journey with Alzheimers Disease.

Cecil was born in Chicago, Illinois, on Feb. 21, 1927, the son of George and Anna (Ordowski) Mast. His parents were second-generation German immigrants who raised their eight children in the largely German neighborhood of St. Benedicts Parish, near Wrigley Field. Cecil began work at age 10 with a job as helper in an opticians shop.

Cecils life was shaped by several unexpected events. On his first day of public high school, he learned that he had received a full scholarship to DePaul Academy, one of the best private prep schools in Chicago at the time. He cut his high school career short, announcing to the principal on his 18th birthday that he was enlisting in the Navy (this came after he lied about his age in an unsuccessful attempt to join the Seabees). He was stationed in Cleveland as a petty officer.

As a result of his Navy service, Cecil attended DePaul University on the GI Bill, completing his B.S. in physics in three years while working full time. The next turning point came when a professor recommended that he consider doing graduate work at the University of Notre Dame. He began his studies there in 1951 and graduated in 1956, living for part of the time as a caretaker in what is now LaFortune Student Center. For the rest of his life, Cecil regarded Notre Dame as his true home.

After graduation, at the urging of his friend and colleague, Fr. Ernan McMullin, Cecil traveled to Ireland to do post-doctoral work at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. There he met Mary Faul, who was working as an administrator for the institute. After some time, he worked up the nerve to ask her out for lunch. Later, he told his children that if Mary had been busy that day, they would never have existed. Luckily she was free for lunch. Cecil and Mary were married in Louth Village, Ireland, in July, 1959, and shortly thereafter moved to South Bend, Indiana, so Cecil could begin teaching in the Mathematics Department at Notre Dame, where he was a professor until his retirement in 1998.

Cecil was a man of great intellectual curiosity. In addition to his research in theoretical physics, he contributed two papers to the anthology The Concept of Matter and wrote three textbooks; he also helped many neighborhood children (including his own) with their math homework. He taught himself ancient Egyptian, learned to cook Chinese and Italian food, and joined a wood-carving group after his retirement. He had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed music, old movies, and being with his family and friends. One of his greatest joys was having people over for dinner and remaining at the dining table for hours, enjoying lively conversation.

From the time he was a graduate student, Cecil was very active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Over the years he held every office in the local council, and he helped establish the Societys thrift store. He made many trips to bring food to families in need, and every Sunday for 25 years, he would visit the residents of a nearby nursing home, bringing them fruit and candy and lingering to chat or play cards. Over the years he formed long-term friendships with many of the residents. In recognition of their volunteer work and their dedication to peace and human rights, Cecil and Mary were awarded the Grenville Clark Award from the University of Notre Dame.

Of all things in his life, Cecil was most devoted to his family. His relatively flexible work schedule allowed him to be home when his children were sick and to take time in the summers for car trips to state parks and other destinations near and far. He enjoyed reading to his family around the fire, especially at Christmas time. He was always there to lend a sympathetic ear, provide sage guidance or just help out with a few hard sums.

He is survived by five sisters, Josephine Boyd, Rita Eisenhauer, Bernadette Renwick, Virginia Mast, and Mary Brown; his four children, Brigid (George) Alverson, Maura Mast (Jack Reynolds), Cecilia (Kevin) McTigue, Brian Mast (Jennifer Waits); and nine grandchildren, Elizabeth and Maura Alverson; Eileen, Brian, and Madeline McTigue; Brendan, Maeve, and Nuala Reynolds; and Beatrice Waits-Mast, and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, by an infant child, Josephine, and his brothers George and John Mast.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, September 21, at Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be said at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Indiana, at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 22.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Cecils memory may be sent to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Joseph County or to the Alzheimers Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor, Chicago, IL, 60601-7633, or visit, www.alz.org.

Funeral Home
Kaniewski Funeral Homes, Inc.
3545 N. Bendix Dr. South Bend, IN 46628
Tel. (574) 277-4444

Send Condolences