Matt ‘Red’ Mathiason

BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. — Matt “Red” Mathiason died suddenly of a heart attack Sunday, June 9, 2024, at home. He was 49 years old. A celebration of life will be held 3 p.m. Friday, June 21, at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn., with a visitation starting at 2 p.m.

Matt was born April 18, 1975, in Mankato, Minn. He grew up in Fairmont, Minn. and graduated from Fairmont High School in 1993. He attended the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and wasted no time by graduating in 3 1/2 years. Following graduation, Red worked in Pork Management in rural Fairmont. Later, he followed the call to adventure. He drove a motorhome to Alaska and “camped” for the summer. He then worked several seasons in Antarctica, some years wintering over at the South Pole. He worked on the Project Ice Cube for UW Madison at the South Pole Station. Red also spent a short time working in logistics in Afghanistan. He later worked for several years in wind energy managing wind farms. While working in South Pole, Antarctica, Red met his wife, Willow Fitzgerald. Throughout their life together, they lived in Portland, Ore., Goldendale, Wash., Healy, Alaska, and their current home in Brush Prairie, Wash. Their son, Sammy, was born in Portland, Ore., and during their time in Alaska, their daughter, Sylvie, was born. Red was a devoted husband and father and community member. This past year, he was coach extraordinaire for his children’s sports teams, helping with football, basketball and more. Red was a force of nature. He worked hard and enjoyed life. Over the course of his life, he formed many friendships and made a positive impact wherever he went with his kindness, generosity, quick wit and willingness to talk to and joke with almost anyone. Red is already missed by many.

Red is survived by his wife, Willow Fitzgerald and children, Sammy and Sylvie of Brush Prairie, Wash.; his mom and dad, Marilyn and David Mathiason of Mankato, Minn.; his brother, Chris Mathiason (Erin Bovendam); many nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the following causes that Red supported: Tiny Homes for the Homeless – Right to Dream Too (http://right2dreamtoo.blogspot.com), and Hockinson People Working Together (PWT), which is a group of volunteers and teachers that support school activities for children in Red’s community (https://my.cheddarup.com/c/red-s-memory/items? cart).