Pastor Thor M. Matsen

PORTAGE  -- Pastor Thor M. Matsen, age 89, of Portage, died on Sunday, August 1, 2010 at Columbia Health Care Center in Wyocena.

Thor was born on September 8, 1920, in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Thorwald and Mabel (Mortensen)   Matsen.  Baptized on October 25, 1920 and later confirmed at Salem Lutheran Church in Omaha, Thor’s pilgrimage of faith found expression in the Lutheran Church all his life.  He graduated from Luther Jr. College, Wahoo, NE, Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS, and Augustana Theological Seminary, Rock Island, IL.  He was ordained as a Pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church, (ELCA) on June 10, 1945, in Moline, IL.  Thor was married to Marie Branting on September 8, 1944 in Hordville, NE.  Together they served as missionaries in Tanzania, East Africa for 10 years.  Thor then served as Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY, Augustana Lutheran Church, Hobart, IN, and Calvary Lutheran Church, Louisville, KY;  as interim Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Bellvue, KY, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Evansville, IN, and St. Matthew By the Lake Lutheran Church, Benton, KY;  and as Visitation Pastor at First English Lutheran Church, Appleton, WI.  Thor celebrated the 65th Anniversary of his ordination on June 10, 2010.  Retiring in 1984, Thor and Marie made their home in Portage, WI.  Thor was active in numerous activities at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and the Kiwanis Golden K Club.  He enjoyed fishing and many travel experiences that involved sight-seeing and visiting numerous family and friends.  

Thor is survived by his son, Luther (Patricia) Matsen, Kailua-Kona, HI;  his daughters, Karen (Carl, dec.) Watkins, Montello, and Sandra (Ronald) Poisel, Louisville, KY;  four grandchildren, Jerusha (Wes) Neal, Amy J. Matsen, Leslie (Josh) Boll, and John I. Poisel;  two great-grandchildren, Mercy and Josiah Neal;  his sister, Betty Madej, Omaha, NE;  his brother, Jack (Linda) Matsen;  his sister-in-law, Jacquelyne Matsen;  many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.  Thor was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Marie, his son, Paul A. Matsen, his son-in-law, Carl E. Watkins, Jr., his brothers, Robert Matsen and Paul Matsen, his brother-in-law, Theodore Madej, and his sister-in-law, Evelyn Matsen. 

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 5, 2010 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Portage, with Rev. Dick Inglett officiating.  Graveside services will be in Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville, IN.  Visitation will be held on Thursday from 12:00 noon until the time of the services at the church.  The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.

The family would like to especially thank Pastor Inglett, Dr. Gregory, Divine Savior Hospital, and Columbia Health Care Center for all the care, concern, and kindnesses given to Thor.  We are most appreciative.

Memorials may be made to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, for the ELCA Global Mission Fund.

“He who dies believing, dies safely in God’s love.”




For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)