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Obituaries: Larry Julius Matten

Larry Julius Matten, 72, of Missoula, Montana passed away at his home on Friday, July 19, 2019.

He was born on Jan. 19, 1947 in Cloquet, Minnesota to Julius and Florence Matten. Larry spent his childhood growing up in northern Minnesota, fishing and ice skating. He attended Wrenshall High School where he was involved in football and track but excelled at basketball, earning All-American honors in 1965. During his senior year, he went on a recruiting trip to the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs coincidentally played the University of Montana during his visit, and his love of the Griz began. In 1967, during the peak of the Vietnam War, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and spent the majority of his service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany.

Upon being discharged from the Navy, he married Jeannie Baker, had his first daughter Jeri Lynn, and moved to the Bitterroot Valley where he later had his son Brian. Larry began a 38-year career at the pulp mill in Frenchtown. After his first marriage ended, he met Naomi at a Solo Stars Square Dance. Larry and Naomi got married in Missoula in 1980, where they had their children Eric and Rachel.

There were countless memorable family outings including camping, cross-country road trips, and vacations. Larry was an avid sports fan. His favorite teams were the Vikings, Lakers, and the University of Montana Grizzlies.

Larry was a loving husband, brother, father and grandfather. His sense of humor and smile would light up the room, he made new friends easily and never met a beer he didn’t like. Larry could often be seen around town on Friday afternoons with his best friend and brother-in-law Bob Lentz. He will be remembered for his meticulous lawn,

ever-present denim jacket and easy laugh.

After retirement, Larry became actively involved as a member of the Miller Boys, a group of retired volunteers that handles the maintenance at the church he attended. For the past 10 years, Larry was also an active member of the VFW Post 209 and served as the Commander of the Honor Guard, performing military honors for more than 100 fallen veterans each year. He was the contact for area funeral homes, recruiting and organizing honor guard members, acquiring uniforms, transporting rifles, calling commands and delivering spent shells to families.

Survivors include his wife Naomi, sons Brian (wife Katie) and Eric (wife Claire), daughters Jeri and Rachel (husband Matt), brother Randy, and sisters Sheila Rudnicki, Patt Fornshell and Sandra Peterson. He will be sorely missed by his grandchildren Cassidy, Kayden, Ayden, Archer, Quinn, Logan, Berkeley and Bode.

We love you brother Larry, and will miss you.

A memorial service was held July 29, 2019 at First Lutheran Church in Missoula, followed by a committal service at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery with military honors.

Larry would be honored if you would consider a memorial donation to VFW Post 209, 245 W Main St, Missoula, MT 59802, vfwpost209.org. If you are a veteran who served overseas, please consider honoring your comrades by joining an honor guard.

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