Donald Mathes(1946 - 2015)

Donald Mathes, 69

Donald P. Mathes, 69, of Swisher, died early Thursday, August 20, 2015 at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha after a courageous battle with mesothelioma.

Don was born on July 19, 1946 in Waterloo and graduated from La Porte City High School. Following graduation, he moved to the Cedar Rapids area where he started a family of his own. Drawing from mechanical skills learned on his family's farm, Don had a long career as a skilled machinist, working for Link-Belt FMC, Rockwell-Collins, Square D and MSI Mold Builders. Until retirement in 2011, Don was a highly regarded tool and die maker at Oral B in Iowa City for over 20 years. In his retirement, Don restored a 1958 Edsel. He fabricated many obsolete parts himself and soon began supplying parts to others.

He was a passionate gardener, taking great pride in his large backyard vegetable plot. Every May, Don foraged for morel mushrooms. He enjoyed playing golf and loved his cats. He was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and a member of snowmobiling club in Swisher.

Don had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. He had a strong work ethic and took great pride in his work, whether for Oral B or on the house he renovated himself.

Donald is survived by his children, Gina Mathes, Wichita, Kansas, Donna Mathes, Seattle, Washington, Kerrie Mathes and husband Creston Lea, Burlington, Vermont and Kurt Mathes, Swisher; his former wife, Bonnie Harger of Swisher and her daughter, Beth Cavalier of Iowa City; siblings, Phyllis Van Tassell, Patricia (Robert) Klingaman, Gene (Betty) Mathes, John Mathes, Burton Mathes, Nancy (Jack) Oldag and Rebecca Junkins; two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Philip and Florence (Girsch) Mathes, two sisters, Joyce Prokaski and Judith Mathes, and a niece, Julie Oldag.

A memorial fund has been established.

Online condolences may be left for the family at under "obituaries".

Funeral Mass: 10:00 A.M. Monday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Cedar Rapids, by Father Christopher Podhajsky. Burial: Anderson Cemetery, Swisher. Friends may call from 3 to 7 P.M. Sunday at Papich-Kuba Funeral Home East, 1228 2nd Street S.E., Cedar Rapids.

Funeral Home

Papich-Kuba Funeral Home - Cedar Rapids
1228 2nd St SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
(319) 362-9032

Published in the Press-Citizen on Aug. 22, 2015