Billy Kirlin, another boyhood friend, said the organization's informal name was "The Shackets."
"There were two things Al loved. He loved his family, and he was very loyal to his friends. When they had problems, he took care of them," said Mr. Kirlin. "Even when he didn't have money way back, he'd still help out someone who may have been having financial problems. Obviously, when he was successful later in life, it was a little easier to do that."
Mr. Mason's capacity for friendship and generosity was matched only by his sense of humor, friends said.
"He had a wonderfully wry sense of humor," said Mr. Bagli. "He'd tease you until you said something silly, and then he'd say, 'I gotcha.' He was never vicious."
An avid golfer, Mr. Mason was a member for more than 35 years of the Country Club of Maryland, where he regularly golfed with a Friday foursome, endowed the Mason Cup and celebrated getting a hole-in-one.
He was a drummer and a big-band aficionado. His favorite big-band leaders, family members said, were Guy Lombardo and Russ Morgan.
For more than 40 years, Mr. Mason celebrated his November birthday and the birthday of two close friends and their wives with trips to Bermuda, cruises and visits to the Tides Inn in Irvington, Va.
Mr. Mason was also a model railroad fan and enjoyed setting up HO-gauge layouts and Christmas gardens.
Mr. Mason was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, but because of construction there, his funeral will be held at noon Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave., Towson.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Mason is survived by a son, Warner Mason of Baltimore; two daughters, Susan Miller of Towson and Janice Gross of New Freedom, Pa.; and seven grandchildren.