Earl Eugene Matson

September 27, 1937October 20, 2020

Obituary for Rev. Dr. Earl Matson “Gifted and Lifted by God” Earl Eugene Matson was born on September 27, 1937 in Fargo, North Dakota and died peacefully in the Estes Park Health Living Center on October 20, 2020 at the age of 83. He wrote that his life could be captioned as “Gifted and Lifted by God” -- he is now moving on in that journey of transformation to glory. Earl lived his entire childhood and youth with his parents L. Milo Matson and Ruth Berg Matson in Moorhead, Minnesota. The strong Swedish family upbringing was remembered as a home of love, comfort, acceptance and centered on God. Earl was the second child (after brother Duane) followed by two more brothers, David (deceased) and Paul, who lives in Henderson, Nevada with his wife Kathy. After graduation from Moorhead High School in 1955, Earl attended Concordia Lutheran College. In 1959 he left Moorhead to enroll at Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois and study for the ministry. He was ordained in 1963 and served two Lutheran congregations in Lockport and Rockford, Illinois. Recalling the tumultuous times of the ‘60’s, Earl often mentioned the deepening passion for social and justice issues which influenced him to advocate and serve in areas to help others. It was also during this period when the Matson family vacationed in Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park and Earl was seduced by the beautiful “Rocky Mountain High” that he grew to love. In 1971 Earl was called to be the Pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs. He also served as chaplain with the police department to counsel for victims of trauma and violence. Earl continued his quest to “move north” toward Estes Park in 1981 where he was called to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Denver, then to Christ the Servant in Louisville, CO. Still yearning for the Rocky Mountains, Earl met in 1994 with a few folks from Estes Park (which he recalled with great joy) and was called to become the pastor of the developing mission congregation of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church where he served until his retirement in September 1999. On Reformation Day of 1994, a visitor to the worship service introduced herself to Earl--Nancy Pellet from St. Louis, who planned to move to Estes Park the following May. Earl and Nancy were married in the Moraine Park Amphitheatre on October 21, 1995 and served the congregation until September 1999 when Earl retired. Earl and Nancy travelled, camped, hiked, and were part of many organizations and non-profits in Estes Park….Earl was a volunteer chaplain with the EP Police Department and the Estes Park Medical Center, as well as being hospice chaplain. He worked with Estes Valley Victim Advocates, Bread for the World, Habitat for Humanity, Restorative Justice and was a member of the RMNP Crisis Incident Team. All his years in Estes Park he enjoyed membership with the Rotary Club of Estes Park, serving a term as President. Earl loved golfing, hiking, camping, photography and regular workouts at MedX. Earl’s favorite and most enjoyable activity was volunteering at Bear Lake with RMNP folks; he loved meeting visitors and sharing his joy in being there in the National Park. He attended many community activities, fundraisers, parades, and parties---laughing, joking (Ole and Lena) and being with people. Quiet time at home was spent reading mystery novels, watching Rockies and Broncos, entertaining friends...and Happy Hour. Earl is survived by his wife, Nancy. He is also survived by his sons Mark (Elvira) Matson of Estes Park; Stephen (Suzanne) Matson of Fort Morgan; Tim (Lori) Matson of Monument and his daughter Kari Shea of Colorado Springs. He is stepfather to Aimee (Troy) Clarence and Robin (Dennis) Tidwell. Grandchildren are Peter, Brittany, Ryan, Julia, Morgan (Gentry) Riggen, Grace, Faith and Jillian; and two great-grandsons – Tristan and Elliot. Memorial gifts may be made to Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, 2000 Ptarmigan Trail, Estes Park, CO 80517 and designated for a Columbarium to be built; or to any charity you may wish. A Memorial Service will be celebrated at a later date, probably 2021.



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Earl Eugene Matson

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Michelle and Bob Chase

November 17, 2020

Dear Nancy,

We are keeping you and Earl's entire family in our prayers. Sad to lose Earl - his loving, good nature is certainly missed. I always enjoyed the times I spent in Earl's orbit. We both served together on ACMNP long, long ago. And we were both Victim Advocates together. He also gave me an appreciation for Habitat for Humanity. And it was always fun to run into Earl when he volunteered in RMNP. I know the last few years have been more difficult with his decline. I pray rest for him and for you all. michelle and bob

Brenda Vance

November 6, 2020

I have so many fond memories of Pastor Earl Matson when he was at Bethany Lutheran church in Colorado Springs. Youth ministry at Bethany was so much fun. So many great memories of singing John Denver songs when he played guitar. He officiated at my first wedding but was gone when I came back after moving to several different states while married to my first husband who was in the Air Force. Then, I reconnected with Earl several years ago when we attended the Estes Park Wool Market. I'm so grateful I was able to spend that time with him. Love and light to the family. RIP Pastor Earl.

Joy Westby

November 6, 2020

My earliest memories go way back to reunions with my cousins in Moorhead, MN. We often gathered at Aunt Ruth and Uncle Milo's lake cabin. I have fond memories of boating, fishing, swimming and sitting around the campfire singing and laughing together at stories shared.
My next fond memory was when my father and Earl officiated at my wedding at Bethesda Lutheran church in Moorhead, MN. Earl's son, Stephen, was the ringbearer.
When my father passed away Earl officiated at his funeral in Longmont, CO. He based his sermon around "death through the eyes of a child" as he read a letter my son Barton had written about his Grandpa Berg. It was very meaningful to me.
Many warm thoughts come to mind of our Tjernberg family reunions held every 2 years. Such fun times! Some were held in the YMCA Camp in beautiful Estes Park.
As the years go by our families are sadly becoming fewer in number. As Christians we can all look forward to the comforting promise of the great reunion in Heaven with loved ones one day.
May you Rest In Peace, Cousin Earl.....

Kari Shea

November 5, 2020

My daddy was a wonderful man!!! I was blessed to have him live in Colorado Springs with me for a year and a half about a year or so ago. My Fondest memories of him were singing John Denver song with him playing guitar. Sunshine on my Shoulders was our song!! We even dance to it at my wedding. I will miss him and love him forever! Daddy, you will forever be the Sunshine on my Shoulders!!!

Cheryl Badeaux

November 5, 2020

Earl was a great guy and an excellent pastor, and we are all blessed for having him in our lives. Our love and prayers go out to you and the family.
Cheryl Badeaux and Randy Lee

Jean Siddle

November 2, 2020

Earl was a favorite church friend. That is where I first met him. He became more than an acquaintance over the years--he and Nancy became special. When I think of him, his Ole and Lena jokes come to mind. He could tell some of the dumbest jokes--I think he had a file-- but there will always be a smile on my face as I remember him.

Faye Fanning

October 31, 2020

I am so sorry to hear about Earls passing. My heart goes out to the family. I am thinking of you Nancy and miss seeing you. God Bless🙏


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