25 Jul Deacon Joe Mathern
Joe Mathern, 89, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on July 24 at Miller Pointe in Mandan. Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 27 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. followed by Rosary/Vigil Service at 7:00 at Church of Corpus Christi in Bismarck. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Church of Corpus Christi on Friday, July 28 at 10:00 a.m. with Bishop David Kagan as the celebrant and Msgr. Patrick Schumacher as the homilist. The interment will follow at St Mary’s Cemetery. The service will be livestreamed on the Church of Corpus Christi website https://www.youtube.com/c/CorpusBismarck
A devout Catholic, Joe’s faith and family were the most important parts of his life. Joe was raised with 9 sisters and 2 brothers on a family farm near Napoleon, North Dakota by his parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Mathern. He met the love of his life, Elaine Lipp, at a baseball game, and they were married on May 31, 1960. They waltzed and polka danced their way through the next 63 years together, while raising their 8 children in Bismarck.
He was ordained a deacon in 1992 and served over 20 years at Church of Corpus Christi. Joe baptized many grandchildren and great grandchildren, also assisting with weddings and funerals. He inspired parishioners and family with his devotion and delivery of heartfelt, memorable homilies with his thick German accent and mischievous grin. He was also a founding member of Corpus Christi Knights of Columbus. Through his example, his beloved family saw how prayer helped overcome life’s challenges.
Joe was a gifted and humorous storyteller who regaled people at Toastmasters, around a campfire, card table, or fishing boat with tales of a life well lived. He had interesting anecdotes traveling the world with his wife Elaine, adventuring off the beaten path to Russia, China, Rome, Great Britain, Martinique, Capri and many places in the US. A proud Marine, he served honorably in the Philippines, and recently traveled with an honor flight to Washington DC. Despite only completing an 8th grade education in a one-room country school, he built a successful homebuilding business, Mathern Homes and founded Bismarck Homebuilders Association. He built homes for his family and a cabin on Brush Lake, hosting hundreds of gatherings and welcoming guests with open arms, polka music, hearty German dishes, a rousing game of cards, and shots of Manshevitz.
When not at Mass, building homes, or hosting parties, Joe could be found tearing up the dance floor at weddings. Joe persuaded even the most stubborn people to get on the dance floor. He was a highly desirable dance partner who could even make people with two left feet look like professional dancers. Outside of being the life of the party, he also enjoyed being outdoors fishing and in his garden. In the summer everybody left his house with a tour of his garden and a heaping bag of produce.
Joe will be remembered for his dedication to his large family, Catholic faith and service to the church, community and country.
Joe is survived by his wife of 63 years Elaine, children Joe (Sue), Shelly (Mitch Torgeson) Gerard (Pam), Greg, Tom (DeAnn), Ted (Andrea), Mary, and Kari (Eric Stromstad), 20 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 2 on the way.
He was preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers and 6 sisters, and a granddaughter, Paige Vearrier.
The family is forever grateful to the staff at Benedictine Living and Miller Pointe who provided loving care throughout his last years.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Catholic Family Indian Mission, Diocese of Bismarck.