The final page was put out for Fire Chief Dean W. Mathison‚ God called him home on Tuesday‚ February 10‚ 2009; he was 63 years old.
‘The name Dean Mathison and Larsen/Winchester were synonymous. He was the backbone of those communities‚’ one friend quoted in the local paper.
Dean loved fire trucks. He collected them and he lived with them. For 42 years‚ he rode them as a firefighter for the Clayton-Winchester Fire Department‚ in Larsen‚ WI. For 20 years‚ Dean served as the Fire Chief. Less than 24 hours before his death‚ he responded to a fire call and died while attending a regional safety meeting. While the fire department serves two townships‚ Dean’s commitment to his community was beyond that.
When Dean wasn’t busy making a living‚ chances were you’d find him down at one of the two fire stations that serve the townships. The stations and the fire department were his second home and family.
He served as Chairman of the Winnebago Area Firefighters Association for many years. Dean was Chairman of the Winnebago County Fire Chief’s Association‚ member of the Quality Assurance for the Winnebago 911 Dispatch Center‚ served on the Winnebago County E911 fire sub-committee‚ member of the Northeast Wisconsin Safety League (Dean was voted to be the vice president the night he died)‚ and member of the Winnebago County Fire Investigative Unit. He pretty much had meetings 4 nights a week‚ and always ready when the pager went off.
Dean was just one of those community icons. He would always go above and beyond. If you knew Dean – he always was ready to share a laugh with a joke. ‘Did you hear the one about…’ was always in a conversation.
Dean left behind his wife of 42 years‚ Sharon; ; their four children: Kim‚ Glen‚ Scott‚ & Amy; their spouses; and seven grandchildren. Outside of the family‚ some of the firefighters looked to Dean as their father figure‚ and role model.
Even though the backbone of the family is gone‚ strong community involvement continues today. Both of Dean’s sons have followed in their dad’s footsteps. Glen is currently Fire Chief‚ and Scott is Assistant Chief of the fire department that Dean left behind.
On October 3‚ 2009‚ Dean’s name was written upon the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial‚ in Wisconsin Rapids‚ WI.
Etched on his grave is the patch of the Clayton/Winchester Fire Department‚ which is so proudly served‚ and wore.
Even though Dean is gone‚ we are so thankful that we were blessed with the love and respect he shared with everyone. Dean’s dedication and uncanny sense of humor will be remembered forever.