Welcome to the memorial page for

Robert James "Bob" Mattern

April 6, 1936 ~ March 25, 2017 (age 80)

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April 4, 2017

5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Schriver's Memorial Mortuary
414 5th Avenue NW
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Liturgical Wake Service
April 4, 2017

7:30 PM
Schriver's Memorial Mortuary
414 5th Avenue NW
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Mass of Christian Burial
April 5, 2017

10:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
409 3rd Avenue SE
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Click Here to Watch Bob's Wake Service

Click Here to Watch Bob's Mass


     Mass of Christian burial for Robert James “Bob” Mattern will be 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 409 3rd Avenue SE, Aberdeen, with Father David Janes as celebrant.

     Burial, with military rites, will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery.

     Visitation will be 5:00-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4th, at the mortuary, with a liturgical wake service and rosary beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Visitation continues one hour prior to Mass at the church on Wednesday.    

     Bob passed away on March 25, 2017, from severe complications of pneumonia at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

     He was born April 6, 1936, in Milbank, S.D., to Frances (Keller) and Martin Mattern, Sr. He lived with his parents and brothers, Marty, Johnny and George on the family farm near Milbank. Mattern attended the one-room country school house and St. Lawrence Catholic School in Milbank. The Matterns moved to Aberdeen in 1943. He attended Sacred Heart School through ninth grade and played on the school’s football team, which won the 1950 Championship. He attended Central High School and graduated on June 2, 1954. He worked for the Brown family at Pepsi Cola Bottling for three years.

     On July 1, 1954, Mattern entered the United States Air Force. Air Force Bases Mattern served at were: Lackland, Francis E. Warren, Great Falls, Larson, Andersen in Guam, and Fairchild. He was honored to serve in the Strategic Air Command. Airman First Class Mattern was awarded the National Defense Service Medal for his service during the Korean Conflict. He was honorably discharged in December 1957.

     He earned a degree in diesel and gasoline mechanics from Bailey Technical School in St. Louis, Mo., in 1958. While in Missouri, Mattern worked at Hawk Fish Lure Company.  

     He returned to Aberdeen in 1960 and worked at Nelson Auto Electric. In 1961, he graduated from the Aberdeen School of Commerce. In June 1960, Mattern met his future wife Mary Linda Lenihan at a Sacred Heart parish young people’s club. They married on August 16, 1962, and raised four children, Joseph Garrett “Joe," 1963; Mary Ellen DeBois, 1965; Patricia Marie “Patty," 1967, and Robert Emmett “Rob," 1973. Bob and Linda were married for nearly 55 years.

     Mattern took the government exams to become a U.S. Letter Carrier and began working for the United States Postal Service in 1961. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in February of 1982.

     After the death of his uncle Lambert "Lump" Mattern and aunt Esther Mattern – who founded Mattern's Bait Shop in the 1930s — Mattern and his wife Linda purchased fishing reel parts from his cousins. The Matterns moved to East Highway 12 and reopened Mattern's Bait Shop in February 1970.  The Bait Shop involved the whole family — it was the first job at age 12 for Joey, Mary Ellen, Patty and Robbie. Customers sought out Mattern's expertise in fishing and hunting, his knowledge of the best fishing spots and his skill in repairing fishing reels, rods and ice augers. Bob and Linda appreciate their customers and consider them friends. At the time of his death, Mattern was still running the Bait Shop.

     Mattern loved history, was very patriotic and always voted. Mattern cherished his wife Linda and loved the life they shared. To him, she was not only a wonderful wife, but his business partner, co-pilot for family road trips and, most of all, his rock.

     Mattern's oldest son Joe loved airplanes and flying. When Joe was alive, Mattern loved talking about airplanes with him and listening to Joe recount his traveling adventures. Mattern loved hunting and fishing with youngest son Rob and spending time with Rob and his wife. Mattern treasured his time fishing and hiking with daughter Patty. In recent years, Bob traveled with Linda to Maple Grove, Minn., often and he enjoyed spending time with their daughters, Mary Ellen and Patty and their families, and their grandchildren. He attended their grandchildren’s Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Graduations and many gymnastics meets, school concerts and soccer games and took them fishing. Mattern was his grandchildren's biggest fan.

     Mattern listened to Packer football via radio before games were televised. He loved the Air Force, Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers. Mattern's strong Catholic faith sustained him. He attended Catholic Mass regularly, which was celebrated in Latin when he was young, so when he was in the Air Force, attending Latin Mass always made him feel closer to home.

     He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a 50-plus year member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 502, Aberdeen; life member of the VFW, and member of the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition.

     He is survived by wife, Linda; children, Mary Ellen (Michael) DeBois, Patty (Julie Wright) Mattern, Maple Grove, Minn., Rob (Cathy) Mattern, Aberdeen; grandchildren, Lauren Marie, Ian Joseph, Ryan Michael, and Kaylen Mary DeBois; step-grandchildren, Jason (Kaaren) Tramonte, Haley Joette Trudeau; step-great grandchildren, Ann-Adaire, Jack, Hailey, Hunter, Carson; Brian George Mattern, a very special nephew; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Virginia Mattern, Daisy Mattern, Rosemary (Lowell) Nally, Marcia (Joseph) Pecsi, Michael Lenihan, Emmett A. (Lisa) Lenihan, several dear cousins, many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

     He was preceded in death by son, Joseph, August 12, 1990; father, 1952; mother, 2004; brothers, Martin Mattern, Jr., 1985 (Mary Lou, 1996), John L. Mattern, 1978; George Mattern, 2015; nephew, Thomas Mattern, 2002; brother-in-law, Mark Lenihan, 2004.

     Mattern loved nature and felt a strong calling to care for God's creation. Every time he went fishing, hunting or walking, Mattern picked up litter left behind by others. He always left the fishing spots, fields and parks in better condition than when he arrived. To best honor and remember Bob, go out fishing, hunting and walking, let the sun shine on your face, fill your lungs with fresh air and tend to God's creation.

     Memorials may be directed to Sacred Heart Church Cemetery Fund, VFW, C.C. Croal Post 17, P.O. Box 334, Aberdeen, SD 57402, or your favorite charity.


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