Byron J. Mattison, age 88, of Montague, died peacefully Tuesday, December 12th, 2012 at the Harbor Hospice Poppen Hospice Residence. He was born Feb. 28th, 1924 to Lorenzo and Madelynn Mattison in Detroit, MI. Byron enlisted in the United States Army March 22, 1943 and was classified as PFC Truck
Driver Heavy Army Combat Corps of Engineers unassigned. He drove semi-trailer truck hauling ammunition, mines, general Army equipment and food. He drove up to 200 miles continuously under abnormal conditions and over all types of roads, and makeshift trails. PFC Mattison was involved with four battles and campaigns, including: Normandy - Battle of the Bulge until D-Day, Northern France Campaign, Rhineland Campaign, and Ardennes Campaign. His decorations and citations included the European African Middle Eastern Theatre ribbon with four Bronze Campaign Stars, Good Conduct Ribbon, American Theatre Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, and Purple Heart. PFC Mattison was honorably discharged form his beloved Army of the United States Feb. 6th, 1946.
After being discharged from the Army, Byron joined GM-Cadillac Motors, UAW Local 22 for 30 years and retired in the 80s. Bryon lived in Detroit for 58 years and was an adventurous man. He blazed trails in Eliza Howell Park for two miles, loved four wheeling, off road racing, motorcycle racing on ice on Lake St. Clair, and stock car racing on ice. He was also ziplining and go kart racing at the age of 87. Byron passed out water for the Katrina victims, and drove for the Red Cross when needed.
Although a self-educated man, Byron was an inventor who never had the opportunity to patent his ideas, but did see some of them put into use which included the guard rail in between the freeway on I-94, the big wheels back in the 50s and go karts.
Byron said “He use to try to play the piano” but was never as good as his sister who could hear a tune on the radio and play it. He did write country and pop songs and loved doing impressions of W.C. Fields and Jackie Gleason.
Survivors include Freda Falcon, his constant companion for 19 years; one son, James M. (Sue) Mattison; one daughter, Deborah (Kevin) Lynch; 5 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren who he loved with all of his heart.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Gladys of 40 years; and one son, Dennis Clark Mattison.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at St. James Catholic Church, 5149 Dowling, Montague, with the Fr. Donn Tuft officiating.
Visiting time will be 10-11 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church.