John Birrell Mathie, age 82, of Marshall passed away on September 17, 2019 at his residence surrounded by his loving wife, his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, his brother and sister and his friends. His family was the most important force in his life, and the courage and love that everyone showed until the end is humbling and awe-inspiring.
John was born on September 23, 1936 in Detroit to David M. and Iva (Hughes) Mathie.
He graduated from Marshall High School with the class of 1956 and entered into the United States Navy at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago. He served our country until his honorable discharge.
In 1959, John married Patricia Friia-Mathie and had two sons, Mark and Jeffery Mathie. During their married time, they bought and owned many businesses.
John married Leslie Kay (Quada) Huggett on August 31, 2002 in the backyard of the home they shared. They had 17 wonderful years together traveling up north for the fall colors, to Florida in the winter to escape the coldest months and to Sam's Club for lunch. They were inseparable to the end.
Following the Navy, John became a licensed barber, and worked as a carton and packaging designer at Crowell in Marshall for several years. After that he owned and operated several businesses including Little John's bar in Albion from 1966 to 1977, Homer Meadow Lanes bowling alley and the Stage Coach Inn in Marshall from 1980 to 1995. During this time John also worked buying, restoring and selling more than 35 homes in Albion and Marshall.
John was a hardworking man, but he also made time to do the things he enjoyed like playing golf and traveling. John played all the PGA golf courses in the United States. He and friends would travel for two weeks each year to a different country for golf, visiting 12 countries in total. John was a long time member of the Marshall Country Club where he served on the board in many capacities. He was a consummate U of M fan, despite his family's preference for the Spartans. It was a perennial source of amusement for his grandchildren to tease him mercilessly with green and white gifts at Christmas. One of John's favorite memories was a trip taken to South Africa with his son Jeff and friends.
John is survived by his wife, Leslie Mathie of Marshall; sons, Mark Mathie of Albion, and Jeffery (Cheryl) Mathie of Duck Lake; stepsons, Brian (Sara) Huggett of Marshall, and Matt (Maddie) Huggett of Marshall; grandchildren, Zachary Mathie, Josh Mathie, Hunter Mathie, Sarah (Zach) Mathie-Place, Hannah Mathie, Lucas Mathie, Lilia Huggett, and Elliott Huggett; great-grandchildren, Harper Place, and Grayson Mathie; brother, Don (Ginny) Mathie of Georgia; and sister, Jeanne Mathie. He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Iva Mathie, brothers, Tom Rule and Jim Rule; and sister, Jackie Smith.
Cremation has been conducted in accordance with John's wishes and a memorial service in his honor was held at the Moose Lodge in Marshall on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 from 5-7pm.
The family is being served by the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 Old US 27 North, Marshall Chapel.
Memorial contributions are requested to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Donate online by visiting www.hospiceswmi.org.
Assistance with memorials is also available at the Kempf Funeral Home, Marshall Chapel.