Bert Francis Matlock, age 89, a longtime resident of Boyds, passed away on June 24, 2011 at his home. Bert was born on May 10, 1922 in Marshall, OK, the son of Noah Coleman and Nora Ann (Neuner) Matlock.
Bert was raised in Marshall, Oklahoma where he attended school. At the age of 15, he made his first visit to Northeastern Washington and was lured back at age 17 to work in the timber industry. Bert then followed his brothers to Alaska for a time. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and began active service on Jan. 3, 1943 with the Seabees. He was honorably discharged on Dec. 24, 1945 and returned to Boyds, , where he met Opal Emmaline Carson. Their courtship led to a 61-year marriage that began on April 9, 1950. They started a family and began a cattle ranch in the Deadman Creek area. Bert always worked off of the ranch to help make ends meet. He worked in both the woods and in the lumber mills and in 1959 began work for the U.S. Forest Service. Bert retired in 1985. He had a strong work ethic and always started his day with ranch chores, including milking cows, and finished his day the same way. Bert was a steward of his animals, giving great attention in their care.
In September 1967 he relocated his family to their current farm just north of Boyds. There, he continued to raise his large family and even larger vegetable and flower garden. He and Opal have resided there for the past 43 years.
Driving country roads and reading western paperbacks were two of his most enjoyable pastime activities. He taught his family the value of hard work, land stewardship, and that caring for your family took precedence over all else. He believed that cutting your own wood â€śwarmed you twiceâ€ť, that hot chocolate was essential on fall woodcutting trips, and that carrying a tune in your heart was better when shared with a whistle. He could often be heard whistling while he was carrying out his daily chores. He was a beloved grandfather who enjoyed his grandchildrenâ€™sâ€™ activities and cherished their visits to the farm. Bert placed immeasurable value on life, often reminiscing about family and friends from the past who shaped his life.
Bert was a member of the Cattlemenâ€™s Association and a life-long member of the Catholic Church. He also assisted in the construction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Kettle Falls.
Bert was preceded in death by his five brothers, an infant sister and by his parents.
He is survived by his wife, Opal Matlock, at the home; children, Stanley Matlock and wife, Angela, Colville; Wesley Matlock, Colville; Christie Matlock, Kettle Falls; Valerie Richartz and husband, Robert, Kettle Falls;, Rodger Matlock and wife, BaLinda, Omak; Joyce Frei and husband, Brian, Clarkston; Lawrence Matlock, Cantwell, AK; Keith Matlock and wife, Colleen, Colville; 20 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren; sisters, Marsella Hollibaugh, Spokane, and Rosella Espe, Portland, OR.
The Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 a.m., Friday, July 1 at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Kettle Falls. Father George Morbeck as celebrant. A graveside service will follow at the Calvary Cemetery in Colville, with a luncheon to follow.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Kettle Fall Food Bank.
Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com.
Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory is entrusted with the arrangements.