John W. Matheson

John Matheson of Clyde Hill, age 91, passed away at home in the care of his family on May 1st 2020.


John W. Matheson

John was born in Lashburn, Saskatchewan at the end of May in 1928.  His parents were Arol and Viola Matheson of Paradise Valley, Alberta, Canada.  John grew up with his parents and younger sister, Muriel, in Paradise Valley, a small prairie village near the historic Battle River.  The land had just been settled a few years earlier and everyone that lived around Paradise Valley were new immigrants. John grew up with an appreciation of all these varied characters, cultures, and the history of the western frontier.


John began his work life as a roughneck in the oil fields near Lloydminster, Alberta.  One morning he looked out the window of his rooming house and saw a tall beautiful woman walk by on her way to her job as a new school teacher.  It was love at first sight. John married the love of his life who became Hazel Matheson but was known by “Happy”, on August 6th 1951. John and Happy were a great team and their marriage lasted 62 years.


During the early years of their marriage John worked at a roofing mill in Lloydminster, Alberta.  In 1962 he saw a job posting come in for a position open in Vancouver, BC to increase the supply of recyclable paper at a local paper mill.  This was the beginning of John’s 35 years in the recycling industry. After another move to St. Paul Minnesota, John and family moved to Bellevue, Washington in 1974, where he founded Fibres International.  Fibres became one of the leaders in recycling in the Northwest. John sold the company in 1996 and retired in 1997.


John was a very determined and forward looking person.  He always said that once all the facts were known the course forward should be clear. Another special talent was that he was able to establish a positive personal connection with most all the people he met. One example is that during the first Earth Day in 1970, when young demonstrators came to the paper mill where he worked, John invited them into his office.  He then explained they were actually on the same side, as the mill was recycling thousands of tons of paper each month.


In their later years John and Happy took many trips and especially loved the history and people of England and Scotland.  They went on safari in Africa. John made many fishing trips to Leonard’s Landing Lodge in Alaska where he enjoyed being with his cousin Bill Wilson and fellowship with many other dear friends.  John was an active member in the Lakeside Masonic Lodge and Bellevue Rotary. John and Happy supported the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra and created an endowment at Overlake Hospital to support the continuing education of nurses.


John was predeceased by his parents Arol and Viola Matheson, and his wife Hazel Matheson. He is survived by his sister Muriel Christiansen of Saskatoon Saskatchewan, son Greg Matheson and wife Carol, daughter Carol Swanson and husband Michael, granddaughter Danika Lavrentyev and husband Serge, granddaughters Kayla Swanson and Celine Swanson, and great grandson August John Lavrentyev. John was very supportive of all his family.  He always wanted them to find their own dreams and destiny and to live life as fully as he did.


A memorial service will be held for John later this summer or fall when we can gather together to appreciate his memory.  Memorials may be sent to the Overlake Hospital Foundation.

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