Jeffrey Robert Matsen
November 24, 1939 – January 12, 2020
Jeffrey Robert Matsen, age 80, passed away in his Newport Beach home on the morning of January 12, 2020. Jeff was larger than life, showering those who knew him with love and generosity. He was a leader—a husband, father, grandfather, friend, business owner, mentor, professor, and coach, and he will be missed deeply. He influenced and touched the lives of many, and those who knew him will remember his determination, work ethic, stories, love of sports, and dedication to family and to God.
Born on November 24, 1939, Jeff was the third of five children born to Bessie Jackson Matsen and John Martin “Jack” Matsen, Jr. He grew up in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and graduated from University High School. Growing up in LA, Jeff was close to his extended family, especially his uncles who owned a large construction firm there. He formed life-long friendships with classmates. Together, they would sneak into movie lots, go to local hole-in-the-wall spots, and cheer for the Dodgers and Lakers—of which he became a lifelong avid fan.
Jeff later went on to graduate from BYU (BS), where he was instrumental in forming the booster organization “The Cougar Club.” Jeff earned his law degree with honors from UCLA, after which he was recruited by top LA law firms. He took a break early in his law career to serve his country in the Marine Corps. He rose to the rank of Captain and acted as a military judge.
Jeff married his wife, Susan Davis, on July 27, 1973. They started a life together in Newport Beach where they raised seven children. As a huge sports fan, Jeff was known by many as “Coach”—he helped form the Newport Beach Little League and coached Little League, Pony League, and Boys Club teams for over 20 years. Whether in sports or in school, Jeff instilled in his children and grandchildren that with hard work and determination, anything was possible. Jeff made sure all his children knew how much he believed in them and that he was their biggest fan. He was a very involved and dedicated father and was honored in 2007 with the “Orange County Father of the Year” award from the Diabetes Association and Father’s Day Council. Jeff always endeavored to have a personal relationship with every one of his 17 grandchildren, making sure each grandchild knew how loved and special they were to him.
With his drive, energy, and intelligence, Jeff had a remarkable law career focusing on Asset Protection, Estate Planning, and Business law. He gained national recognition when he was featured in Time Magazine for winning a case against the IRS in the US Tax Court. Known nationally for his expertise, Jeff was a featured speaker and lecturer for the California State Bar, the National Business Institute, the Advisors Forum and Wealth Counsel. Some of his accolades include a 10/10 AVVO rating, “America’s Top 100 Attorneys” from Worth magazine, California “Super Lawyers” from Los Angeles Magazine, and “O.C.’s Top Lawyers” from OC Metro magazine. Jeff is the author of the American Bar Association publication ABA Consumer Guide to Asset Protection: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving Wealth. Jeff also taught law courses at Western State University and Chapman University.
Jeff was a man of great faith, dedicating much of his life to his church and religious beliefs. He served 2.5 years in Brazil as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He shared his testimony freely and held many leadership positions in his church, including serving as Bishop of the local Newport Beach-Irvine congregation.
Jeff was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Sara, his parents, and three of his siblings. He is survived by his wife Susan, his seven children—Greg (Harlene), Melinda (Steven), Brian (Karen), Jeffrey (Tania), Kristin (DJ), Nicole (Ty) and Brett—his 17 grandchildren, and his younger sister Judi.
Memorial Service will be held Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 10:00am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2150 Bonita Canyon Drive, Newport Beach, CA.
- Memorial Service Saturday, January 18, 2020
Jeffrey Robert Matsen
Denise Wood Slabotsky
January 16, 2020
The Wood family greatly admired Jeff Matsen. He was truly a remarkable man as evidenced by his beautiful family and the many lives he touched. May wonderful memories comfort you today and always. Hugs to you, especially sweet Nicole!