Al flew on to be with heaven's angels on Sept. 8, 2013, at the age of 93, with family by his side. He was the son of Robert and Edith (Ashby) Matheson and born Aug. 21, 1920 at home just two miles east of Pompey's Pillar. His father passed away when he was only 6, leaving his mom to provide for four children. Al learned at an early age the meaning and pride of work. Everyone who knew him knows how difficult it was for him to be still--always working or helping. He worked for many of the families on "The Huntley Project" doing farm work, milking cows, mowing yards.....you name it, he would be doing it.
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He graduated from Huntley Project high school in 1938 and worked for the Norip Creamery in Worden for a couple of years. While there, he made prize winning sweet cream butter taking first place in Montana and third in the nation! In 1941 he moved to Seattle where his two sisters lived and worked jobs from landscaping to doing structural steel at a Boeing plant in Renton, Wash. He later went back to Montana where he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in February 1941. There he learned a passion and skill for flying. This love of flying would never leave him. He was honorably discharged as a decorated soldier and joined the Reserves. After 28 years in the military, he retired as a Lt. Colonel.
In 1941, as he put it, the good part of his life began. He started at Montana State College where he met "the love of his life", Virginia Walton. They were married on Nov. 24, 1947. They had three children, Sandra (Sandy), Shari & Robert (Bobby). Al was Gallatin County Treasurer, field man for the Production Credit Association and then worked up to become the manager. He retired after 25 years. He and Virginia then enjoyed traveling all over including Europe & Korea. They spent many of their winters in their winter home in Yuma, Ariz., making many new and dear friends! Oh they did love and cherish that time.
Al was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Annie and Edie, brother Bob, and the love of his life, Virginia. He is survived by daughters, Sandy (Skip) Lee, Shari (John) Oiestad; son, Bob (Heather) Matheson. Grandchildren Nathan (Jan) Lee, Jennifer (Shawn) Gorrell; Kristina (Gary) Huss, Scot (Janet) Oiestad; Faith & John Matheson. He is also survived by his cherished greats, Kamie, Cayden Abi, Benny, Jayden and Haley; nieces, nephews, families and many, many beloved friends.
Memorials may be made in Al's name to the Gallatin Historical Society, /Pioneer Museum, 317 W. Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715 or the Museum of the Rockies, 600 W. Kagy, Bozeman, MT, 59717.
A celebration of Al's life will be held 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Military honors to follow at Sunset Hills Cemetery.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2013