Gordon Howard Matheson, 80, longtime Ledger-area farmer and member of the Conrad community, died from complications of diabetes Oct. 15, at Pondera County Medical Center. His family was with him.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Oct. 18, at the First Presbyterian Church in Conrad, followed by burial with military honors at Hillside Cemetery and a luncheon at the church. Guests are asked to refrain from wearing fragrances. Funeral services are being handled by the Pondera Funeral Home.
A loyal and loving husband, father, and grandfather, he is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marjorie (McFarland) Matheson; two sisters, Jane Grimsrud and husband Tom of St. Louis Park, Minn., and Edith Matheson of Tualatin, Ore.; three daughters, Paula Matheson of Spokane, Nancy Matheson and partner Jonda Crosby of Helena, and Laurie Holtan and husband Timothy, of New Windsor, N.Y.; in-laws S.T. and Eileen McFarland, and Ruby Ullom Miller; four grandchildren, James Gordon Stewart of Colorado Springs, Sarah Stewart and husband Mike Ayers of Spokane, Elizabeth Holtan and Katherine Holtan of New Windsor; a great-granddaughter, Katie Stewart of Spokane; beloved family friend Mary Hensley of Great Falls, and his much-loved nieces and nephews.
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, and three brothers, Leslie, Warren, and Robert Matheson.
Of Scottish and English descent, Gordon was born to Archie and Lysle (Carter Gates) Matheson on Jan. 28, 1926, on the family farm near Fairmount, N. D., where he spent his boyhood. In 1944, after completing a year of college at North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 394th Field Artillery Battalion, which provided replacement troops for U.S. combat soldiers in Europe. After being honorably discharged in 1946 he enrolled in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana in Missoula. That summer he fought fires in Idaho and Montana for the U.S. Forest Service as a smoke jumper.
He married Marjorie McFarland of Conrad on Oct. 6, 1947. In 1948 the young couple established a successful dryland grain farm 25 miles east of Conrad, where they farmed for 47 years before retiring.
Gordon was a good and kind farmer, who held dearly the values of fairness, community and the cooperative movement. A lifelong Democrat, he served as president of Montana Young Democrats in 1955-57. He served on the boards of many cooperatives, including the Grain Terminal Association, which later became Harvest States Cooperatives, the Spokane Bank for Cooperatives, the Conrad Equity Co-op Elevator, the Federal Land Bank, and Farmers Export. His GTA/Harvest States service lasted 27 years, during which he never missed a St. Paul monthly meeting; he served five years as chairman and traveled to China with one of the first private U.S. delegations. He was a lifelong active member of the Montana Farmers Union, and served a term on the Montana Chamber of Commerce board.
He was known for his integrity and caring. He was an active member in the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and in later years became a member and elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Conrad. He was a charter board member of the Conrad chapter of Dollars for Scholars.
Gordon loved nature and animals, and liked to travel. He was a passionate reader, lover of history and poetry, and an excellent woodworker and gardener; he could make or fix anything. He loved to tell stories. Children adored him, and he delighted in spending time with his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. In his retirement he enjoyed Great Falls Symphony concerts, the Lehrer News Hour and the daily crossword puzzle. He socialized regularly with the guys at Conrad’s Home Cafe and Town Pump coffee shop.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Conrad Dollars for Scholars, the Pondera County History Association museum, or to a cause of the donor’s choice.