Kermit Wayne Mattson passed away Friday, October 3, 2014, under Hospice Care at Clare Bridge of Gainesville. Kermit was born in Iroquois, SD, December 29, 1922, to Mason Mattson and Eva(Miller)Mattson. He was raised near Arlington, S.D., graduating from Arlington High School in 1940.
Kermit is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Genevieve(Baye)Mattson, his daughters; Elaine Mattson, Gainesville; Nancy(Jeff)Burns, Las Vegas, NV; and Denise Mattson, Westfield, IN. He and Genevieve have six grandchildren; Madeline Lovins(Chad Caster), Pensacola; Kathleen(Joseph)Beckman, Cincinnati, OH; Emily Trine, Indianapolis, IN; Michael(Krishauna)Burns, Las Vegas, NV; Nicholas Burns, Las Vegas, NV; and Patrick(Emily)Trine, Kokomo, IN. He leaves behind eight great-grandchildren: Elijah, Mekenzie, Logan, Kenley, Lucy, Tate, Reese and Lincoln, one sister, Betty Mathews, Milwaukie, OR, one brother-in-law, several sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mason and Eva Mattson, his siblings, Carrol Mattson, Marlys Hoffman, Gene Mattson, Joanne Eidness and infant sister, Beverly Mattson.
Kermit served one year in the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Dakota and Montana. He enlisted in the US Navy in December of 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He rose to the rank of Signalman 1st Class, and was serving on the Liberty Ship, SS Jonathan Sturges in the north Atlantic in February 1943, when the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine attack. After spending 16 days in a life-boat with fellow survivors, they were rescued by an American destroyer on March 11, 1943. The frozen feet he suffered during that time continued to affect him throughout his life. He was discharged from the Navy in New Orleans in October 1945.
He married Genevieve Baye in Cavour, South Dakota on July 31, 1945. They moved to Chicago after his discharge, where Kermit and Genevieve started their family, eventually settling in Tinley Park, Illinois, in 1950. Kermit began his long and successful career in warehousing management in 1946, at North Pier Terminal where he worked until 1962. The family then moved to Janesville, Wisconsin where he took a position with Libby, McNeil, and Libby, from which he retired in Kokomo, Indiana in 1982. He began his studies in accounting and business management at the LaSalle University in Chicago, and later in Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin Extension. Kermit and Genevieve moved back to the Chicago area in 1982, where he worked for Wyler’s Foods, and finally retired in 1986, moving to Gainesville in November of that year.
In Tinley Park, Illinois, Kermit was an active member of the VFW and the Lion’s Club, and an avid bowler. In Kokomo, Indiana he was a member of the Eagles and bowled on one of the club’s teams. In retirement Kermit used his accounting experience to serve many years as the financial secretary for the Harvest Christian Church in Gainesville. He served as Secretary, and later President, of the Hidden Lake Homeowners’ Association. Kermit continued to serve his church in various areas until his disabilities made it impossible to continue. Kermit and Genevieve traveled often, visiting 46 of the 50 states, Canada and Mexico.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the many excellent caregivers from Comfort Keepers, Clare Bridge of Gainesville, and Haven Hospice who lovingly cared for Kermit during the past two years.
Visitation will be Sunday, October, 5, 2014, from 4-6pm at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 N.W. 23rd Ave, Gainesville. Funeral services will be held Monday, October 6, 2014, at 1:30 at Harvest Christian Church, 4820 N.W. 34th St, Gainesville, with interment to follow at Forest Meadows Memorial Park on N.W. 39th Ave., Gainesville.
Donations in Kermit’s memory may be made to Harvest Christian Church or Haven Hospice of Gainesville.
Our sincerest sympathy to Genevieve, her daughters and extended family. Kermit was a wonderful example of The Greatest Generation. We will miss him.
I am sorry for your loss. We are never completely prepared for the death of a loved one. What a wonderful full life he had. I am sure that the memories and stories of his life will help to keep him alive in your hearts. I am so glad that Maggie was there with him at the end. I can think of no one with more capable and loving hands than Maggie. We can only pray that each of us has the same kind of comfort and care to prepare and guide us when we are dying. I hope that you are all getting the love and support that you need.