Mason, Diane B.

Owner And Operator Of Kandy Kastle Day Care

Monday, December 6, 2021
Diane Boyd Mason
Diane Boyd Mason

Diane Boyd Mason, the Matriarch of Kandy Kastle Daycare, passed away on November 29, 2021, at her home surrounded by family.


Diane was born September 19, 1941, to the parents of Marion and Ophelia Leslie in the Westside housing projects. Her humble beginning set the stage for her lifetime work of developing children.

Diane was educated in the Chattanooga public school system where she graduated from “The Howard School” Hustling Tigers' Class of 1959. After graduation, she attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN where she became Miss Freshman and head majorette of the Mighty Aristocrat Marching Band. She left school for marriage and she and her son, Eric, moved to Detroit.
Diane returned home in 1964 to complete her education at Chattanooga State in Early Childhood Development. Diane started her professional career working for the Council of Government and the Xerox Corporation. While working in the corporate, the idea of starting her own business crossed her path.

After visiting her friend and fellow classmate's {Carolyn (Norwood) Sims} daycare, Diane fell in love with it and knew it was the direction she wanted to take. On July 7, 1974, Kandy Kastle Daycare was born in the basement of her parents’ Belle Vista Avenue home. She opened the daycare at the wrong time of year and started out with only four children. The word eventually got out about this amazing woman who believed in developing the whole child and teaching them to feel good about themselves. Her reputation as an excellent educator caught fire in the black community and within 3 years she was up to capacity and had a waiting list for enrollment.

In the summer of 1979, Diane met Gerald Mason, the love of her life. Gerald was a young man from Knoxville, TN with 3 children and a brand-new manager job at TVA. Gerald and Diane spent every waking hour enjoying the simple things in life such as listening to music on the floor of the daycare, remodeling the daycare, and exploring and visiting sights in the Chattanooga area. After one year of dating, Gerald and Diane married in a train car at the Chattanooga Choo Choo on August 30, 1980. This blended family of Diane, Eric, Gerald, and his kids, Mignon, Gerald Jr., and Dale became six! On July 19, 1980, the family grew to seven with the birth of their granddaughter, Brooke. Diane and Gerald adopted Brooke in 1981 to complete the family picture.

The Kandy Kastle storybook took shape in 1983 when Kandy Kastle moved from the basement of her family home to 1416 McCallie Avenue, Kandy Kastle's first commercial building. Very soon, Kandy Kastle was exploding in every direction. The daycare grew to five locations, 300 staff and 1500 students. During Diane's forty-four years of serving the Chattanooga community, she enrolled over 5000 students in her care.

Diane served on various boards including TC Thompson Children’s Hospital, Rooms In the Inn, Chattanooga Carats, and founding charter member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Chattanooga Chapter.

Diane was preceded in death by her parents, Marion and Ophelia Leslie, and her sister, Saundra Leslie Green.

Survivors include her husband of 42 years Gerald A. Mason Sr., sons, Eric Leslie Boyd, Gerald A. Mason Jr., and Dale Edward Mason; daughters, Mignon (Thomas) Kenton and Brooke B. Mason; Sisters, Adrienne Bailey of Memphis, TN, and Valerie Leslie Brown of Chattanooga; Grandchildren Mason Roberson, Drake Boyd, Madison Messer, Mia Kenton, and Brody Jackson; Loving brother in law, Colonel Larry Green of Douglasville, GA, devoted sisters-in-law, Patricia Mason Chattanooga and Elsie Mason of Dallas, GA; a host of nieces and nephews; and a special set of friends and caregivers: Anita Keith, Maxine Dossett, Lasheena Fletcher, Evelyn Jacobs, Susan Messer, Lisa Williams, Derrick Jackson, Janice Boyd, Linda Long, Mary Vanzant, Candice Moss, Daryl Hill, and Robert Vanzant.

Public viewing will be held from 12-6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, at the funeral home. Family hour will be from 4-6 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, at First Baptist Church, 506 East 8th Street.

Interment will be in Lakewood Memory Gardens East.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, 2009 Curtain Pole Road, 37406, chattfoodbank.org.

Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.


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