Leland Abraham Matson was born August 21, 1925 in Clark County, Washington, the fourth child of Albert & Vivian Matson. He grew up and attended school in Battleground, WA, and then farmed with his father and also drove school bus. Lee enlisted in the US navy where he served as a motor machinist’s mate from 1943 to 1945. He often told stories of his posting in the Philippines. On June 30, 1951 he married Jean Hilman in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. They made their home in SW Washington where Lee worked in logging, farming and carpentry.
In 1971, they moved to the Rose Lake district in North Central BC. Lee farmed in Rose Lake and worked as a mechanic, first for the Gulf service station in Topley and then for Granisle Copper on the rail siding. In 1978, he started Matson Lumber, with two of his sons, where he operated scrag and head rig sawmills . Lee was also an active member of the Apostolic Lutheran Church and served as a lay pastor for many years. Lee & Jean continued to farm until Jean’s passing in 1991. Soon after, Lee sold the farm and moved to a smaller property on the Rose Lake Cutoff Road. In his retirement he enjoyed fishing and hunting with his son Keith and his grandsons. In 2000, Lee spent a year with his son Dennis in Langley, BC but always wanted to go back north; that was home. In June 2001, he was able to realize that wish and moved into the Stuart Nechako Manor in Vanderhoof, BC where on Feb 16, 2009, he passed peacefully from this life and is now in his heavenly home.
Lee is survived by four sons: Dennis(Brenda) Matson of Langley, BC; Brett(Yarina) Matson of Edmonton, AB, Keith(Brenda) Matson of Decker Lake, BC; Kevin(Gina) Matson of Pasco, WA; and one daughter Vivian(Tom) McCluskey of Sylvan Lake, AB. Nineteen grandchildren: Ramona (Peter) Daly, Leona, Amanda, and Milo Matson; Dallas(Tamara) Matson, Charmaine(Dominic) Fantillo, Cherilyn(Ted) Michaylow, Nolan Matson, Yairzinho Steenen; Travis(Dallas) Matson, Randy Matson, Shaun(Megan) Matson, Jason Matson; Naomi, Anthony, & Ben Matson; Kiana, Janae, & Lynece McCluskey; and eleven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two brothers, Jim(Doris) Matson of Battleground, WA and Chuck(Sharon) Matson of Yacolt, Wa; two sisters, Marge Staudinger of Sylvan Lake, AB and Rhoda(Jim) Olin of Vanderhoof, BC; and three sister-in-laws, Helen Hilman of Sylvan Lake, AB, Penny Matson of Battleground, WA, and Clara Matson of Yacolt, WA.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife Jean, three brothers, Wes Matson, Lew Matson & Don Matson, and three sisters, Carol Sarvas, Betty West and Mary Kandoll.
Lee will be fondly remembered by numerous friends and relatives. The funeral will be held at the Rose Lake Community Centre on Feb 24, 2009, with interment at the Rose Lake Cemetery.