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Gerald M. Mattern
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Obituary for Gerald M. Mattern

Husband, father, brother, teacher, musician, activist, Buddhist, reader, liberal, athlete, brewer, conversationalist, cook, and philosopher Gerald “Gerry” M. Mattern, 88, of De Pere, WI, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Unity Hospice Residence in Ledgeview on Thursday, April 27, 2017. He was born July 30, 1928 in Appleton to Antone and Martha (Jankowski) Mattern, the fourth of thirteen children. On August 13, 1959, Gerry married Anne Defenderfer at Old St. Joseph Church in De Pere.
Playing the trumpet was the passion of Gerald’s life, starting with his first trumpet lesson at the age of five. Gerald attended Menasha High School, playing in bands as well as participating in basketball, baseball, football, and track, and was named Outstanding Athlete of the Year in 1946―the same year he graduated.
Gerald served his country from 1950–1952 in the United States Army. He was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and was later accepted into and completed study at the Naval School of Music at Anacostia Naval Base in Washington, D.C.
Gerald graduated from Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI in 1957. He then received a Master’s Degree of Music (M.Mus.) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and attended graduate school at the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado. Gerald spent over 40 years of his life teaching music―four years as band director at Menasha High School and 36 years as Professor of Music and Humanities at St. Norbert College in De Pere, where he retired in 1996 as Professor Emeritus.
Gerry’s contributions as music teacher, mentor, and performer touched countless lives. His influence and love for music extended throughout the Fox Valley and Green Bay areas to communities around the entire state of Wisconsin. Gerry played trumpet in the Green Bay Packer Lumberjack Band 20+ years, performed with the Green Bay Symphony, founded and performed with The Gerry Mattern Jazz Quintet, founded and performed with the St. Norbert Abbey Brass Quintet, and was founding member and board member of the Green Bay Civic Symphony. Gerry played with numerous jazz associations, was a member and adjudicator for the Wisconsin School of Music Association, continually taught private lessons, master classes, and clinics, and played weddings, funerals, masses, concerts, recitals, parades, jam sessions, etc. In 2015, Gerald received the Association of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra’s Service to Music Award.
Outside of his love for music, Gerry played professional baseball for the Wisconsin State League. He was also devoted to serving his community as a Unity Hospice volunteer for 15 years, delivering Meals on Wheels for 10 years, and serving as board member of the De Pere Historical Society. Additionally, Gerry was a founder of the original Montessori School Board of Green Bay and was on the Executive Board of the ACLU Chapter of Green Bay.
Gerry adored his neighborhood and neighbors, loved camping, nature and gardening—especially his peonies, was an avid golfer, and had a lifelong dedication to social justice.
Gerald is survived by his wife of 58 years, Anne Mattern; his children David Mattern, Anne (Richard) Sato, Johanna (John) Allen, Phillip (Cheryl) Mattern, and daughter-in-law Cynthia Mattern; his grandchildren Amy, Sonja, Lukas, Vincent, Carley, Akio, Michael, and Jack Henry. He is further survived by his siblings Rev. Joseph Mattern, Kathryn Franson, James (Joy) Mattern, Jeannette (James) Spensley, Roseann Mattern, Martin Mattern and sister-in-law Delores Mattern, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Antone and Martha (Jankowski), and siblings Richard, Eugene, Kenneth, Theresa, Tony, Mary, and his close friend, jazz pianist Bill Evans.
Visitation is on Friday, May 5th from 4–8 p.m. at Ryan Funeral Home & Crematory, 305 N. Tenth St., De Pere, and on Saturday, May 6th from 9–10 a.m. at St. Norbert College Parish at Old St. Joseph Church, 100 Grant Ave., De Pere. Funeral service will follow at 10 a.m. with co-officiants Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem. and Fr. Joseph Mattern. Visit www.ryanfh.com to send condolences to Gerry’s family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Gerald Mattern Music Scholarship at St. Norbert College and/or to the Green Bay Civic Symphony.
The family would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Malena Dzwonkowski as well as the staff of Unity Hospice.


Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

5

May

4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Ryan Funeral Home & Crematory

305 N. Tenth St
De Pere, WI 54115

Visitation

Saturday

6

May

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Old St. Joseph Church - St. Norbert College Campus

100 Grant St.
De Pere, WI 54115

Service

Saturday

6

May

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Old St. Joseph Church - St. Norbert College Campus

100 Grant St.
De Pere, WI 54115

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