November 12, 1940 – July 25, 2023

Gary LaVern Mattis, 82, passed away July 25, 2023 in Independence, Missouri. Gary was born to Bessie Hennies and Jack Mattis in Wagner, South Dakota during a blizzard. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church and graduated from Wagner High School in 1958.

He moved to Rapid City and worked delivering concrete before being drafted into the Army in 1963. In 1965, home on leave, Gary met the love of his life, Shirley Link, at the local dance hall. They were married on September 24, 1966 in Delmont, South Dakota at Zion Lutheran Church.

As newlyweds, they moved to Independence, Missouri when Gary started work as a diesel mechanic. He worked for various freight lines for 37 years, retiring from ABF Freight in 2002.

Gary loved the outdoors. He enjoyed fishing for bass and walleye, hunting pheasant, riding horses, camping and going on float trips. And if you asked anyone what his favorite food was, everyone would say chocolate ice cream.

Gary and Shirley loved to travel throughout their whole married life. Special vacations were Hawaii, Alaska, Cayman Islands, cruising the Caribbean and most of the states. South Dakota was a favorite spot where they would visit Shirley’s family farm.

His favorite hobby was working in his garden where he grew an abundance of vegetables and shared them with neighbors who would walk by the park path near the yard. 

Gary was an active member at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

He and Shirley moved to Lee’s Summit in 1976 and raised their three sons, Brian, Bert and Brendon. Most of all, Gary loved being a husband, father and grandfather. He treasured his grandchildren. 

Gary is survived by his wife, Shirley, his sons Bert (Traci) and Brendon (Michele), his daughter-in-law Tracy, his grandchildren Drake, Dane, Julia, Kail, Ben and Owen, his sisters, Helen Elaine Beaman, Joan VanAsperen and his brothers, Gordon Mattis and half-brother Richard Buus and numerous nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his son, Brian Mattis, his brother, Jack Mattis, and his parents, Jack and Bessie Mattis. 

A visitation will precede the funeral service starting at 9am on Friday, July 28  at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (700 NE Chipman Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063). The service will begin at 11am. 

A private burial ceremony will be held Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville, Missouri. 

The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (700 NE Chipman Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063) or to their favorite charity in Gary’s name.

Arrangements by Langsford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063