Harold R. Matz, October 20, 1919 - February 11, 2017

Harold R. Matz

Harold Rudolph Matz, age 97, died Saturday, February 11, 2017, at his home of 60 years. He was born on October 20, 1919, in the Town of Clear Creek to Arthur and Elva (Pehlke) Matz.  He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Foster.

As a young man, Harold set his sights on a non-farming vocation and enrolled in The Wisconsin Barber College in Milwaukee.  Following graduation from barber school he was hired by a barber in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin where he envisioned becoming the eventual owner of the shop.  But that was not to be as the United States became involved in WWII, and Harold, along with many other young men, was inducted into active military service. Harold was trained as a U. S. Army medic and ultimately served overseas with 130th General Hospital in Ciney, Belgium.

As the war ended he was honorably discharged, and he returned to Eau Claire with barely ample time to say good-bye to his mother who was dying at the relatively young age of 58.  With life disrupted by the war he never returned to barbering but instead went to work for U. S. Rubber Company in Eau Claire where he worked in the tread room for 37 years.  He had never forgotten one special girl whom he had known since childhood and who was the person all other women he met were measured against.  That special woman, Lois Frances Dewitz of Foster, joined him in marriage on August 20, 1949.

Lois, an elementary schoolteacher, wanted to travel, and so Harold and their only child, Paula, happily accompanied her on summer trips across the U. S. with a small Shasta travel trailer in tow.  Later a larger trailer on their lake lot on Red Cedar Lake near Birchwood, Wisconsin, became the preferred getaway.

Shortly after Harold and Lois retired they were blessed with two grandsons, Nathan and Matthew.  In lieu of elaborate travel or other ventures they chose to spend their time and energy travelling between Eau Claire and “the cities” to be involved in their grandsons’ lives. No one could ever question the love they felt for their grandsons nor the amount of joy they brought to them!

Retirement for Harold and Lois was also a time of volunteer work.  While Lois lead the charge Harold was ever the good sport – joining her in serving at Community Table, being the “Go-for” guy for never ending funerals at St. John’s, and delivering Meals on Wheels.  After Lois died, he continued to deliver meals until he was into his 90’s and arthritis in his back made it too difficult to continue.

Harold was a good man with a gentle heart who was always grateful for the good things he had been given.  He was always willing to help a friend or neighbor and did so in many ways over his lifetime.  During his most recent years the tables turned and he graciously yet reluctantly accepted help from several of his kind neighbors.

He loved to fish and hunt throughout his active years. Some of his best memories were of times spent deer hunting in the fall with a group of friends.  Recently the stories he told frequently revolved around how much he had enjoyed growing up on a farm. 

Life is lonely when you’re 97 and you’ve outlived nearly all your friends and relatives of your age group.  Harold soldiered on in good spirit always thanking God for each day that he remained on this earth.  When his daughter expressed concerns about whether he was safe to live alone he was quick to remind her that he had always felt watched over by God and that he trusted that God would continue to keep him in His care.  He will be especially missed by his daughter, Paula, and her husband, Larry, who were blessed and honored to care for him at home during his final hours.

Preceded in death by: wife, Lois Frances Dewitz; parents, Arthur and Elva Matz; parents-in-law, Edward and Frances Dewitz; Harold’s siblings Ellwyn (Vera), Alfred (at age 9), Edna (Arvin) Ziehlsdorff, Harlow, and Margaret (Earl) Meyer; Lois’s siblings Vernon (Hope), Gordon, and Loren; nephews Paul Dewitz and Randy Matz.

Survived by: daughter, Paula (Larry) Kaiser of Maple Grove, MN, grandsons Nathan and Matthew (Rachel Verde), step grandchildren Kim Kaiser of Houston, TX, and Scot (Rebecca) Kaiser of Maple Lake, MN, and their children; three sisters-in-law - Verna Dewitz, Bonee Dewitz, and Irene Matz; many nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will take place at 11 am on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at St. John's Lutheran Church, 1804 Highland Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54701 with Pastor Nathan Aaseng officiating. Visitation will take place at the church Saturday morning from 10 am until the time of service. At the conclusion of the luncheon, burial with military honors will take place at 1:45 pm Saturday afternoon in the St. Luke's Cemetery in Foster, WI.

Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.fullerspeckienhulke.com.  Memorials may be given in Harold’s name to St. John’s Lutheran Church or St. Jude’s Childrens’ Research Hospital.

Fuller Speckien Hulke Funeral Home, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.

 

Condolences

  1. Gary and Julie Kersten February 22, 2017

    To Harold's family,
    We were so sorry to read about Harold's death. We are members at St John's and knew your parents. I worked with Lois a couple times at Vacation Bible School and worked at funerals with both your mom and dad.

    Your mom was a spit fire and your dad a quiet gentleman. We will certainly miss him.

    Our prayers and sympathy are with you.

    Julie Kersten

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