Obituary: James C. Matson

September 19, 1938 ~ May 28, 2020

James C. Matson, 81, of Ellison Bay, died on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay.

He was born September 19, 1938 in Chicago, IL, the son of Arthur Edwin Matson and Hazel Louise (Johnson) Matson. James attended North Park Academy in Chicago and graduated with the class of 1956. He went on to study at North Park College for several years. Jim enlisted to serve his country with the United States Air Force Reserve and worked as a lab technician. He managed the Lake Shore Athletic Club downtown Chicago. Jim went to work as an athletic trainer and equipment manager for Niles North High School in Skokie, IL. Through Jim’s brother and sister-in-law, he was invited to join them for a (blind) double-date with Karen Marie Gustafson in December 1973. They were engaged four months later in April and married on June 21, 1974 at Edgebrook Covenant Church in Chicago.

Jim retired from Niles North High School after 25 years and joined Karen in co-owning “Sonshine Books,” a Christian bookstore in Antioch, IL. 

They moved to Ellison Bay, WI, in northern Door County, in 2006. Jim and Karen attended Bethel Baptist Church in Ellison Bay. He volunteered with Bridges International, a local, multi-church effort, and helped with the missions committee. Jim was a former member of Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church in Lake Villa, IL while he and Karen lived there. He had a passion for woodworking, especially bird carving. Jim loved to go kayaking and canoeing. He also liked gardening and reading about history. His love of the Lord and his family were central in his life.

Jim will be missed by his beloved wife, Karen, with whom he was blessed with over 45 years of marriage; brother, William Matson of Sister Bay; sister-in-law, Ruthann (Louis) Moreno of Summerfield, FL; and other relatives.

He was welcomed Home by his parents; son, John Matson (2001); sister-in-law, Joan Matson; and other relatives. 

NEW SERVICE LOCATION AND TIME: Jim’s life will be honored with a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, 2020 at the home of Betty Weborg, 12695 State Highway 42 in Gills Rock with Pastor Joel Rose officiating. PLEASE bring a chair to sit in for the service. Social distancing is to be maintained, and masks are REQUIRED for those in attendance and will be provided if needed.

IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, Memorials may be given in his name for Pioneers-USA, (10123 William Carey Dr., Orlando, FL, 32832 or, the Christian missionary organization that his son, John, was going to be part of.

Arrangements have been entrusted with Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of James may be shared with his family through his tribute page at