On a beautiful summer morning at sunrise, on June 14, 2021, Phyllis Marie (Braun) Mattek earned her angel wings at the age of 94. She is now waltzing in heaven with her husband, Jim.
Phyllis was born on October 15, 1926, the second oldest of eight children to Louis and Lillian (Theisen) Braun. Growing up on her parent's dairy farm, she learned the value of hard work, honest labor, and love for the land. Living through the Great Depression and World War II taught Phyllis to be resourceful and to give to others.
She walked two miles to St. John Catholic School, in Antigo. She also attended Antigo High School, graduating in 1944. Phyllis earned a degree in business and secretarial skills at the Antigo Normal School.
She worked as a secretary for the Kraft Corporation and Vulcan Corporation in Antigo. At the Vulcan, Phyllis was set up on a blind date with Jim Mattek. They went on many dancing dates at the three dance halls in Antigo, Polar, and Mayflower. Phyllis always laughed about the good times they had dancing during their courtship. They were engaged on Valentines Day. On June 10, 1948, they were wed at St. John Catholic Church in Antigo in a double ceremony with her sister, Alice and Jack Jilek. They honeymooned at Pelican Lake and Land O' Lakes.
The couple operated a dairy farm with Jim's brother, Eugene, in Star Neva. They raised 5 acres of potatoes. As a team, Jim and Phyllis expanded their humble beginning into what is now known as J.W. Mattek and Sons, Inc. Phyllis was the bookkeeper for 60 years until her retirement at the age of 81.
Family was the center of Phyllis' world. She enjoyed every holiday season, but especially Christmas. She had a "twinkle" in her eye from December 1st to December 31st, when she became Mrs. Santa Clause. She made "Santa sacks" for all of her grandchildren and was secret Santa to many families throughout her life.
Phyllis could accomplish anything she set her mind to do. Her interests were as varied as the colored peace quilts she made. Phyllis was a lifelong learner and took a variety of classes, including Body Recall Exercise Class, Ai Chi, German, Czech, macrame, and crafting corn husk dolls. She was involved in the "Special Friend Program" in the Unified School District of Antigo. Phyllis served on the St. Wencel Parish Council and finance committee, and was instrumental in getting the elevator installed at the church.
Phyllis was a loving mentor and teacher to her children. She enjoyed having her family around her and she made everyday special. She raised a large garden, canned, picked wild raspberries, raised chickens, and baked, all to feed her growing family. She laughed how she "made enough food to feed Hancock's army." The smell of home cooked meals, potato salad, fresh bread, rollicky, cinnamon rolls, gingerbread cookies, raspberry jam, and kuchen still resonates when we think of home. She also enjoyed crossword puzzles, reading, crocheting, knitting, sewing, and traveling the world with Jim.
Phyllis' deep faith guided her every day. She had a rosary in every pocket and by her bedside table, and prayed her way through life. She spoke of visions from the Blessed Virgin Mary who was a comfort during many heartaches, struggles, as well as joyous times too. Phyllis talked of her "Direct Line to Heaven" and to be careful of what she prayed for. Her devoted love of God was present in her everyday life. She chose to do small acts of kindness for others with her humble, discreet ways.
Phyllis is survived by her children, John (Marsha) Mattek, Mary (Dennis) Graham, Jim (Debbie) Mattek, Judi (Mark) Gunderman, Joe (Sheila) Mattek, Dr. Michael (Teri) Mattek, and Beth (Larry) Petts.
Phyllis is survived by her cherished grandchildren, Katie (Mike) Devore, Jill (Luke) Mattek-Nelson, Matt (Meghan) Mattek, Jim (Kris) Graham, Amy (Brad) Hechimovich, Paul (Jessica) Graham, Abby Mattek, Erin Husnick, Charlie (Kelly) Mattek, Josh (Anita) Mattek, Corey (Courtney) Mattek, Mitch (Kassie) Mattek, Kyle (Katrina) Mattek, Janay (Will) Linstrom, Ryan (Matt) Mattek, Ashley (Robbie) Cribb, Cody Petts, and Mandy (Teale) Mach. She is further survived by 23 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way this year.
Phyllis is survived by her brother, Ray (Dorothy) Braun, and sisters Margaret Flammond, Patricia Wagner, and Carol Vander Veldon. She is also survived by three Godchildren, Mary Jilek, Doug Braun, and Paula Hitt.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her loving husband of 51 years, James J. ("Jim") Mattek, grandson, Lance Corporal John "Johnny" Mattek, Jr., and great-granddaughter, Klare Sundermeyer.
She was also preceded in death by her parents Lillian and Louis P. Braun and family members Elaine and Omer "Babe" Meyer, Alice and Al Schroeder, Jim and Anne Braun, Eugene and Rita Mattek, Jack Jilek, Ron Foote, Irv Wagner, and Tom VanderVeldon, also her caregiver Candy Robinson Fassbender.
Family and friends may gather for visitation at Bradley Funeral Home on Friday, June 18, 2021, from 8:30-10:00 A.M., followed by the Funeral Mass at St. Wencel Church in Deerbrook, Wisconsin at 10:30 A.M. Burial will take place in St. Wencel Catholic Cemetery.
To send online condolences, please go to www.bradleyfh.com
We extend a most heartfelt thank you to Mom's compassionate care giver Pat Wald, the LeRoyer Hospice Team, and our "Earth Angels," Corey and Courtney Mattek.
Phyllis shared her wisdom with every life she touched. She was our mentor, counselor, advocate, and teacher. Her wish for the future was eloquently written in 1996. "I wish for peace, harmony, and love among all people." She lived her life with beauty, kindness, gentleness, and humble grace. We will always cherish the life lessons she taught us.
Rest easy Mom, you are in the hands of God with the Blessed Virgin Mary. This gives us comfort knowing you are singing with the angels and rocking babies in Heaven. We love you forever!
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Phyllis Mattek, please visit our Tribute Store
Antigo, WI 54409
Deerbrook, Wisconsin 54424
My condolances. Your mom was a very wonderful lady, with a wonderful family. Her and Jim are reunited and watching over all of you now.
Thinking of the entire Mattek family. You have our deepest sympathy.
May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you.Thinking of You was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store. A tree was also planted in memory of Phyllis Mattek
Heaven got another angel. God’s Peace. Scott & Penny Schumitsch Family
With deepest sympathy and love from the Graham Family. Robert & Muriel, Sally, Bob & Julie, Sheree & Dave, Randy & Kris and Ron & ShyelaFond Memories was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.Hope And Healing was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Swiderski Equipment.
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.Inspiring Sunset was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. From your Montana relatives: Carol Vander Velden, Mark and Jess Vander Velden, and Cheryl and Dallas EmchGarden Path was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store.
Our warmest condolences,Heavenly Heart was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store.
Gramma, you will remain in our hearts forever. Holding near our memories of you and we take comfort in knowing we have another angel by our side.Expression Of Love was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Tribute Store. A tree was also planted in memory of Phyllis Mattek
We will always treasure our memories of the beautiful person Phyllis was. She always had a smile & kind words for us. We are thinking of Phyllis's family at this difficult time💔 Wens & Vickie Husnick
Words cannot adequately convey our sincere sadness of one (and the last) of the "Neva" moms passing. She is and will continue to be a legend to those of us in the neighborhood. How often the Fassbender's, Mattek's, Preboski's got together to play ball, the older kids water skied and countless other games we gathered to play, all the while the moms took care of "US".....Not to mention the fun mom & dad had on their Friday night fish fries and snow mobile rides. May Phyllis rest in peace, knowing that she touched so MANY of our hearts!!!!!! God Bless & keep you Phyllis!!!! :) Piper Desy
Our deepest sympathy , Phyllis will be greatly missed , she was a amazing woman .Inspiring Sunset was purchased for the family of Phyllis Mattek by Penny Rustick and family and of course Danny.
Our thoughts and prayers to all family and friends. She was a great example for many. Jeanne and Jim Peters, Platteville.