Posted 1/19/16 (Tue)
William “Bill” Mathis, 67, of Watford City, N.D., died Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, at Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D.
William Edwin (Bill) Mathis was born in Cadillac, Mich., on Aug. 10, 1948, to Cleelon and Ireta Mathis. He was the second eldest of five children. In their younger years, all of the kids collected and recycled old newspapers from anyone that would give them. As a Boy Scout, he built soap box derby carts and competed.
In 1962, the Mathis family moved to Kalkaska, Mich., where he completed high school. During and after high school, he held jobs at gas stations and hand-setting pins at a bowling alley, all the while working on cars. Anything with an engine was of interest, especially the ’55 Chevy he and his brothers worked on (until it was wrecked)!
He married and moved to Traverse City, Mich., where he raised three children and worked various jobs, including construction and auto mechanics. In 1980, following a divorce and a short time in San Diego, Calif., Bill started a new adventure in Watford City, N.D.
After several jobs in the oil industry, he opened his own repair business. Over the course of 30 years, it grew from one stall in an old building, to a brand new custom-built shop. During this time, he met his enchanting wife-to-be, Barb. They married in 1985, adding Barb’s three children and a 1986 surprise named Chad to his family. To enrich their lives together, Bill taught Sunday School, and returned into scouting as an assistant scoutmaster. He also enjoyed helping his rancher and farmer friends with cattle, horses, and anything else he could.
After retiring, he was too active to quit. Even as his health was failing him, Bill was always in his shop or on the road helping anyone with repair needs, from lawn mowers to trucks, tractors, and equipment. With the help of friends and family, he remained optimistic in his ability to do what we wanted to do. He even bought shop supplies as he headed for what would ultimately be his final hospital visit.
Bill went to be with his Lord on Jan. 12, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Barb Mathis of Watford City, N.D.; children, Richard Bannon (Halley Orthmeyer) of Mandan, N.D.; Michele Arlt (Don) of Big Timber, Mont.; Tod Mathis (Jenny) of Traverse City, Mich.; David Lee (Denise) of Monument, Colo.; Lisa Rodeman (Todd) of Frazee, Minn.; Dan Lee (Tenesse Gemelke) of Columbia Heights, Minn.; Chad Mathis, of Boulder, Colo.; Laura Olson-Dodds (Jeff) of Watford City, N.D.; his brother, Steve Mathis (Patti) of Kalkaska, Mich.; his sister, Deanna Sattler (Dan) of Grayling, Mich.; 14 grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Cleelon and Ireta Mathis; and brothers, Donald and Kenneth Mathis.
His funeral service was held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, at the CrossPoint Wesleyan Church in Watford City, N.D. Pastor Jeff Ruggles officiated. Burial was at Schafer Cemetery, Watford City.