Aurora May Mattis, age 93, entered eternal life Wednesday morning, October 26, 2016, at the Marquette County Medical Care Facility.
Aurora was born January 29, 1923 on the family farm near the town of Birchwood in Northern Wisconsin. She attended a one room country school and then Birchwood High School along with her brother Fred and sister Alida graduating at age 16. During World War II she moved to Milwaukee and was employed at A.O. Smith, a defense contractor making torpedoes for the Navy. There, in January 1944, she married John Mattis also from Northern Wisconsin. In the spring of 1945 they moved to the Big Bay area and purchased a small resort on Lake Independence where they raised a family of six children. After the death of her husband John in 1976 she worked for and then ran the school lunch program at the Powell Township School from 1976 to 1991. She continued to run her resort until recent years and especially enjoyed the many friends she made there.
She was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Parish in Big Bay going back to 1945. During those years, she was a member of St. Mary’s Altar Society, working many events, cleaning church and teaching catechism. In earlier years she enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities, especially hiking in the woods and hills around Alder Creek with all her kids in tow. Growing up on the family farm had enabled her to be handy at many things. She did not hesitate to pick up a shovel, give the car a push, haul firewood, mix cement or clean fish. She baked large batches of homemade bread and great pies that many have fond memories of. Recipes were seldom used and when asked she would say, Oh, I just throw in a little of this and a pinch of that. She loved sitting in her yard with all its flowers, trees and wildlife. In later years she enjoyed volunteer work at the Bay Cliff Library. She would often recite poetry from memory when it suited the occasion. Family, friends, lots of crossword puzzles and a good game of Skip-Bo or cribbage were always looked forward to.
She is survived by sons John S. (Karin) Mattis, Marquette; Ted (Marise) Mattis, Traverse City; Gerry (Sharon) Mattis, Big Bay; daughters Joan (Fred) Jenks, Highland, CA; Margie Mattis, Marquette; and son-in-law Lloyd Gilbertson, Chatham. Grandchildren Michaela (Scott Dilts) Novak, NJ; Nicole (Skott Brill) Mattis, MD; John E. Mattis, Marquette; Trevor Mattis, Traverse City; Teresa Cuneo, CA; Jennifer Anderson, Iron Mountain; Julie (Steve) Fowler, Fife Lake; Marissa Wolfe, Big Bay; Jeremy Braund, Marquette and Dan (Rachael) Braund, Marquette. Great grandchildren Francine (Steve Horomanski) Mattis, Sophia Mattis Brill, Trevor Mattis Jr, Mackenzie Mattis, Brandon Mattis, Callie Thomas, Aurora Anderson, Alex Wiederhold, Justin Wiederhold, Riley Mager, Josie Braund, Alexandria Braund and Sydney Braund. Great great grandchild Nathan and Owen Horomanski. Also many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express appreciation to Lake Superior Hospice and the staff at the Marquette County Medical Care Facility. A special thanks to Louise Wilcox and Marissa Wolfe for their dedication and extra effort as nurse and caregiver and also to Nancy and Jill Bevins for their spiritual care.
Friends may call at the Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home on Saturday, November 5, beginning at 10:00 am until the time of service at 12:00 noon. Barbara Tooman, Lake Superior Hospice chaplain, will officiate. A reception will follow in the reception room located at the funeral home. Interment will be made in the Powell Township Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Bay Cliff Health Camp, P.O. Box 310, Big Bay, MI 49808.
The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at swansonlundquistfuneral home.com.
She was preceded in death by her husband John, parents Romeo and Elsa Wolff, brother Fred Wolff, sister Alida Librande, grandson Christopher Mattis, daughter Mary Gilbertson, son-in-law Terry Treloar and special grandmother Alida Griewing.
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