Arthur Matson

Arthur James Matson of Hetland, South Dakota, passed away in Northfield, Minnesota, on Thursday, December 13, 2012, just shy of his 90th birthday. He died after a one-week illness with his family at his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, Myron and Guline Matson, step-mother Jessie Matson, infant daughter, Gloria Matson, former wife, Ruth Matson, and companion, Ardyce Samp.

He is survived by his loving family: daughter, Kristine Matson, of Northfield, MN; granddaughter, Jessica Fairbanks, and her husband, Blaise Sopwinik, of Washburn, WI; daughter, Diane Matson, and her husband, Mark Vanney, and their daughters, Kathryn, Laura, and Michelle, of St. Paul, MN; son, Paul Matson, and his wife, Gilda Lorensen, and their daughter, Rosa, of Portland, OR; and brother, Maurice Matson, and his wife, Shirley Matson, of Arlington, SD.

Arthur was born on December 18, 1922, on his family’s farm near Hetland, South Dakota. He grew up during the Depression, working hard on the farm but also enjoying the companionship of his brother and cousins, tending to farm animals, riding ponies across the dry lake bottom, and playing basketball. He and his family were members of Lake Whitewood Lutheran Church. His childhood was saddened by the early death of his mother when he was twelve years old. He graduated from Hetland High School in 1940 and from South Dakota State College in 1947. He enlisted as an officer in the United States Army Air Force and trained as a navigator. He proudly served his country from 1943 to 1945. On December 28, 1953, he married Ruth Monson. Their young family moved from Lake Preston, South Dakota to Ames, Iowa, where he earned his Ph. D. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University in 1964.

During his career, Arthur taught economics at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD; Yankton College in Yankton, SD; and Westmar College in LeMars, IA. He served on the Yankton City Commission, and was elected mayor for a term. He enjoyed trips with his family to Norway and Civil War battlegrounds. In his later years, Arthur lived in Flandreau, SD, and pursued an interest in history with his cherished companion, Ardyce Samp.

Arthur was a farmer, teacher, friend to many, and life-long academic who always enjoyed learning new things. He truly excelled at being a father. His children and grandchildren appreciated his patience, acceptance of others, and, above all, kindness in all circumstances.

His family wishes to thank the Riverview Manor in Flandreau, SD and the Northfield Hospital Long-Term Care Center for their loving care of Arthur.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 22 at Lake Whitewood Lutheran Church in Arlington, SD. Visitation will be at 10:00 am. Burial will take place in the church cemetery with full military honors. The funeral service will be at 11:00 am with the Reverend Dave Schoeld officiating.

Funeral arrangements are by the Bierman Funeral Home of Northfield.


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