OBITUARY Colene Mattson August 16, 1924 – January 25, 2019 Play Tribute Movie Beloved mother and grandmother Bertha (Colene) Dennis Mattson passed away on Jan. 25, 2019, at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Colene was 94 years old. She was born to Bertha Leora Chitwood Dennis and George Washington Dennis, with the help of the family doctor, in her home on a farm near Montrose, Henry County, Missouri. It was near midnight when Colene was born, so her family was not sure if it was the 16th or the 17th. But since her brother Ted was born on the 16th, her parents chose Aug. 16, 1924, as her birth date. Colene’s parents both had been married previously. Her mother was married to Fred Clarence Harvey. Their children and Colene’s half-siblings were: Wilbur Lee, who died at five days old; Leora Mae, who died at 3 months old, and her unnamed twin, who was stillborn; Theodore (Ted) Thomas; and Eva (Margaret) Harvey. Colene’s father was married to Stella Victoria McMillian. Their children and Colene’s half-siblings were: Alfred (Nathan), William (Harry), David (Jack) Commodore, Gussie (Gus) Alonzo and Georgia Victoria. Georgia died when she was a year old. Colene’s full siblings are Daniel, and Joe Dennis. As the youngest in her family, Colene was watched over and loved by many. Her parents were reluctant to allow her to walk the mile and a quarter to their one-room schoolhouse, so she did not start school until she was seven years old. But since Margaret had patiently taught her little sister to read, Colene was only in first grade for two weeks before being promoted to second grade. After eighth grade, she left school to work on the farm. As an adult, Colene loved to read and she easily passed the test for her GED. Life on a farm was always busy. Colene had specific chores from the time she was little. She remembered being the official “water carrier,” which meant carrying water in a one-gallon syrup bucket to the men in the fields – every hour. It was her job to search for the eggs the hens loved to hide. She heated water on the wood stove to wash dishes. She worked in the garden, ironed clothes with a flat iron heated on the stove, and helped bottle fruits and vegetables. Colene’s sister Margaret took a special interest in the little sister who was seven years younger than herself. When there was free time, she taught Colene to do embroidery and to piece quilts – a craft she practiced into her 90s. Colene’s family moved frequently. From Montrose, they moved to a farm near Pleasant Gap, Missouri. One day a tornado came through and hit their home. It turned their house a quarter turn, somehow leaving it sitting on the foundation. The family was still living in this home when Colene’s father had a heart attack while driving the tractor and died, on May 4, 1939. In 1940, Nathan and Ted moved Colene and her mother to California. Then, in 1942, Colene’s bother Dan encouraged Colene and her mother to move to Portland, Oregon. After the move, Colene got a job working at the coffee shop at the downtown Meier & Frank store. There, she met Edla Anderson, who became a good friend. One night, Edla invited Colene to a mutual (young adult) dance at the Moreland Ward. It was there that Colene met Jay Mattson, her future husband. A friend of Jay’s, Frank Havilik, had asked for Colene’s phone number, and Jay overhead the exchange. Frank forgot the phone number, but Jay remembered. He often said he knew at once that this beautiful young lady would be his eternal companion. After a whirlwind courtship, the young couple was married on July 19, 1942, in Portland. Their marriage was sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on July 3, 1964. They were married just shy of 75 years, until Jay’s passing in 2017. During World War II, Jay joined the U.S. Naval Air Force and shipped out on Sept. 8, 1942. Colene joined Jay in Corpus Christi, Texas, in November of 1942. There Colene met another Navy wife, Myrtle Hjorten, and soon struck up a friendship that would last a lifetime. During the long hours their men were gone, these friends spent lots of time together. They found that cleaning house was more fun with help. First, they would clean one house and then move to the other house. They also liked to cook and sew together. Colene and Jay’s first child, Connie Marie, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on April 17, 1944. Colene traveled to Portland, Oregon, for the birth of their second child. Dennis Jay was born on June 4, 1945. After Dennis’ birth, Colene traveled by train with little Connie and Dennis to Santa Rosa, California, where Jay had been transferred. Jay finished his service in the navy and was discharged on Nov. 26, 1945, and the couple bought their first home on 118th Street in Portland. Mary Leora was born in Portland on Dec. 1, 1946. Betty Jane joined the family on Feb. 9, 1950, and Denise Jaylene arrived on Sept. 26, 1954. In December of 1965, Colene and Jay moved to 120th Avenue in Portland. There they lived for nearly 30 years, before moving to Russellville Park Apartments, on 102nd in Portland, in 2004. Over the years, Colene and Jay loved to get together with Mel and Myrtle Hjorten, who they met during their navy days. They were incredible friends. They also enjoyed spending time with Stewart and Della Jensen, Mel and Helen Randall, Earl and Jane Wiest and many more. Colene and Jay built a cabin at Island Park, Idaho. There they spent many a summer day on Henry’s Lake fishing for rainbow trout with Jay’s cousin, Byron, and his wife, Marion. When the children were young, a friend of Connie’s invited her to Primary. Before long, Colene was teaching Primary and little by little, the family returned to activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Colene had many different callings over the years. She really enjoyed family history and made sure that her relatives who had returned to their heavenly home had their temple ordinances performed for them. Colene and Jay spent many years first working as special proxies in the Seattle Temple and later as temple ordinance workers in the Portland Temple. As her children have reminisced, it seems that Colene was one of those magical mothers. Colene’s talents were many and as a child, she learned that when the “work” was done, you kept busy with sewing or knitting or something else. Colene did not know how to sit and do nothing. She was an excellent seamstress and her children enjoyed the fruits of her labors from soft, warm flannel pajamas to dresses, jackets and quilts – you name it, she made it. Colene made jams and jellies, and bottled apple sauce, prunes, tomatoes, and more. She knitted and crocheted, she embroidered, and her counted cross-stitch pieces were works of art. Colene loved to paint ceramics and made pieces for every holiday. Children, grandchildren, and friends alike were blessed by her creations. Here are some of her children’s memories of Colene: Connie said: I think of her compassion and love for everyone, and the quiet way she went about doing things for others. Dennis remembered: There was one night that comes to mind. I was going to go play basketball at the church. It was a cold night and Mom made sure I had some hot potato soup before I left. In and of itself, it might not have been a big deal, but that was how Mom was, always quietly making sure I had what I needed. Mary remembered: It was the little things … bringing us kids root beer Kool-Aid in our favorite Quaker Oat mugs to drink outside under the walnut tree, on a warm summer day. It was oatmeal chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven. It was a warm and loving hug and a soft, “I know you won’t do that again,” when I tearfully confessed that I almost got expelled for fighting on the playground at school. It was making my box dinner for my first date with Norm – would he have married me if I had made the dinner? Betty remembered: I attended seminary for four years. I only needed to go for three years to graduate, but I chose to go four. I hated getting up at 5:30 in the morning. Mom supported me not only by getting up with me, but also by getting me up – which was not easy. If she called to me and told me it was time to get up, I would just go back to sleep. So, after a while Mom discovered that if she came down the stairs and sat on the end of my bed and talked to me, I would really wake up. I could not ignore her. She tailored my “wake-up call” just for me. Denise said: Mom was the world’s best listener and she was never judgmental. She never lectured. I always felt safe and loved. We are grateful for our dear mother. And we rejoice that our parents can once again be together. Colene was proceeded in death by her husband, Jay Deverl Mattson, and her parents, Bertha Leora Chitwood Dennis and George Washington Dennis. She was also proceeded in death by all of her siblings: Wilber Lee, Leora Mae and her unnamed twin, Ted, Margaret, Nathan, Harry, Jack, Gus, and Georgia. Also preceding Colene was her son-in-law, Scott Rasmussen; granddaughter, Erin Solomon; and great-granddaughter, Threnody Weathers. Colene is survived by her children: Connie Sawyer, Dennis Mattson, Mary (Norman) Solomon, Betty Mattson, and Denise Rasmussen. Jay and Colene have been blessed with 15 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren. The funeral service for Bertha Colene Dennis Mattson will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9901 S.E. Caruthers Street, Portland, Oregon. Dedication of the grave will follow at 1:30 p.m., at Riverview Cemetery in Portland. FAMILY Colene is survived by her children: Connie Sawyer, Dennis Mattson, Mary (Norman) Solomon, Betty Mattson, and Denise Rasmussen. Jay and Colene have been blessed with 15 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 9 great-great-grandchildren. Send Flowers Show Your Support Share Obituary share to facebook share by email share link Receive Notifications
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Colene Mattson 2019.
Death notice for the town of: gresham, state: Oregon