James Lynn Matre
1947 - 2020
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James Lynn Matre

Mesa, AZ - James Lynn Matre of Mesa, AZ passed away on June 17th, 2020 after a battling heart disease. A small gathering was held in Mesa, AZ on June 26th and a celebration of life will be held in Central Iowa at a time to be announced.

Jim was born April 24, 1947 in Estherville, IA to Selmer and Lois Matre. He was a lifelong learner and educator graduating from Estherville High School and earning a bachelors from Iowa State University, masters from University of Northern Iowa, graduate studies at Iowa State and an associate degree from Mercy College. Jim had a long career as a teacher and school administrator throughout Iowa including stints at Wapsie Valley, Boone Valley, Shellsburg, Red Oak, Malvern, Nishna Valley, Prairie City-Monroe, Shenandoah and North Polk school districts. He always focused on creating the best environment for learning and loved to work with communities in helping them through change.

Two of Jim's other passions were golf and bicycling. He rode on RAGBRAI 30+ times and made countless friends on those two lane country roads through small town Iowa. He was a golfer his adult life including owning and operating a golf course from 1972-1976, playing in many tournaments throughout the years and eventually settling into a house on a golf course where he could play most days of the year in sunny Arizona.

Jim was a loving and supportive husband and father. He embodied the vow of "in sickness and in health," supporting Ruth Ann and Roxane through their own amazing lives and their subsequent battles with cancer. He and Sondrh found each other in their second youth, exploring the world and grandparenting from afar.

Jim will be missed by his loving wife, Sondrh Lea and her family; mother, Lois Matre of Estherville, IA; Son Jay (Lisa) and grandson Benjamin Matre of St. Anthony, MN; step-son James (Darby) and granddaughters Harper and Saoirse Hill of Polk City, IA. He was preceded in death by his father, Selmer Matre; first wife Ruth Ann Matre, second wife, Roxane Joens-Matre; sister-in-law, Gail Meyer and nephew, Joe Meyer. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Smile Train, an organization that provides free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries or the American Heart Association.

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Published in the Des Moines Register from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.
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7 entries
July 10, 2020
Jim was a friend and wonderful brother-in-law. His smile was not only contagious but enduring. His thirst for trying new things was only second to his love of golf (which I was never good at!). The world is missing a true man of the heart but heaven has gained a joyful angel. Jim, thanks for all the joy you gave me, you have been a true role model for many. Until we see each other again....
RADM Mary Riggs
June 30, 2020
Jim was my sister's father in law, but always seemed a closer family member than titles would suggest. He brought his youthful effervescence, curious and open mind, and joyful attitude about life to every gathering. One of my all time favorite memories was of sharing a Canadian fly-in fishing trip with him. I have rarely laughed so hard with another human being as I did with Jim on that trip. We shared wonderful times in that magical place and it bonded us for all future years. Jim also taught me much about surviving loss and adversity, and moving ahead in life even when taxed by great loss. He was an easy man to love and will be forever missed, so grateful for the time we had.
Kurt Meyer
June 29, 2020
Im one of Jims cousin's from Rockford IL, Kathy Matre. Although we didnt see much of each other in later life, I fondly remember talking to him about education at a time when I was trying to decide what to do with my life after College. He made a strong argument for teaching, something I went on to do for several years as a teacher of piano. Actually, 2 of my kids are also teachers. He made an impression with his passion. Condolences to his family and friends.
Kathy Matre
June 29, 2020
Jim was a positive, honest and fun to work with at North Polk. He was a friend and support to me in my teaching!
Linda Janson
June 28, 2020
im was a great guy. We became better acquainted after retirement when he moved to Mesa. I look forward to our winter get togethers of the Class of 1965 in the Phoenix area. My sympathies to Sondrh and Jims family.
Katherine Stick Puls
June 28, 2020
Sorry to learn of Jim's passing. Jjim and I lived in the same house in Helser Hall at Iowa State and graduated the same year. Spent an evening with them in Arizona f few years ago and then at an anniversary celebration for another ISU grad. When you have the celebration in Iowa this summer I would like to know the time and location. Jim will be missed.
Jerry Krug
June 28, 2020
What a great friend Jim was! So many good laughs and good times! The world was a better place because he was in it! Will be missed by so many.
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