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Obituary: Dennis R. Mattinen

Dennis R. Mattinen passed away Nov. 29, 2022. He was born on May 13, 1945, in Cloquet to Carl Hjalmer and Hilma (Esala) Mattinen. Shortly after graduating from high school, Denny enlisted in the U.S. Army. His service took him to Germany, where he spent much of his active duty. He returned to Minnesota and began working as a mechanic, putting his skills learned in the Army to use.

He married Judy Hughes on August 16, 1969, in Duluth. The couple made their home in Cloquet, and Denny began a 40-year career at Northwest Paper/Potlatch/Sappi, retiring in June of 2006. Denny and Judy relocated to Esko, where they built a home and made 10 years of memories before Judy's death in 2010. Denny most recently resided at Plainview Estates in Cloquet.

A true mechanic at heart, Denny was known as a jack of all trades who could fix just about anything with a spare part, nut or bolt that he surely had on hand. He frequented auctions and couldn't pass up a deal or project to tinker with. He was a member of the Finlandia Beach Club, Esko Lakehead Harvest and was a Boy Scouts leader for both of his boys. He loved his family deeply and was always there to help with anything needed.

Denny valued the time spent with family while camping and also enjoyed trips to Texas with friends. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed deer hunting at the shack in Floodwood. Denny's three keys to happiness were coffee, Coke, and smokes. His one-liners and quiet wit will live on in his loved ones' memories.

Denny is survived by his children, Joseph (Jody) of Wrenshall and John (Holly) of Esko; grandchildren, Ashley, Benjamin, Allison and Andrew; brother-in-law Ronald (Bernice) and sister-in-law, Claudia (Ron); special friend, Gretchen Matuszak; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Judy; siblings, Carl and Mavis; brothers-in-law Gilbert Doten and Richard Wilhelm; niece, Lisa; and caregiver/aunt, Lempi Esala.

A memorial visitation was held Sunday, Dec. 4 at Nelson Funeral Care in Cloquet, followed by a luncheon at the Cloquet VFW. Interment will be at the Apostolic Lutheran Cemetery in Esko.

Pine Knot News, Dec. 9, 2022

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