Obit: Mathias, William (1933 - 2016)

Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Bramlett, Douglas, Edens, Ehrenreich, Mathias, Pellow, Sexton, Taylor

----Source: The Star News (Medford, WI) 3/25/2016

Mathias, William “Bill” (6 JUL 1933 - 22 MAR 2016)

William “Bill” Mathias, 82, of Springdale, Ark. passed away March 22, 2016, at Willard Walker Hospice Home in Fayetteville, Ark. He was born July 6, 1933, in Rib Lake, to Henry Mathias and Elizabeth (Ehrenreich) Mathias.

Bill was a member of St. Raphael Catholic Church in Springdale where he served as usher and devoted many hours of prayer in the St. Raphael Adoration Chapel. He was a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and a member of the 4th Degree Assembly #3101 of Tontitown. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #12082 at St. Raphael where he served as Membership Director. In addition, he recruited new members, drove new prospects to and from exemplification ceremonies and provided the council newsletters. They could always count on him to volunteer his time for the Tootsie Roll drive and fireworks stand.

He attended Rib Lake High School where he championed in basketball. In his senior year of 1951, he was instrumental in leading the Rib Lake Redman to regionals, sectionals and then onto the state tournament. Upon graduation, desiring to serve his country, Bill joined the Air Force, specializing in preventative medicine and was stationed in Nancy, France. After an honorable discharge in 1955, Bill attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science in 1960, and went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Agriculture in 1961.

He was immediately hired as a Food Technologist at General Mills in Minneapolis. In 1956 he took a job with Ralston Purina in St. Louis as Manager of Human Foods Research & Development, eventually progressing to Director. He was especially proud of his work developing the Bugles snack, Bacos Bacon Bits, and Cookie Crisp. In 1986, he became the Administrator in the Food Division for the USDA, State of Wisconsin, Trade and Consumer Protection. In 1993, he moved his family to Northwest Arkansas to head the Quality Control Improvement Team for Campbell’s Soup Company and retired in July of 2000. He was an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists, serving as Chairman in St. Louis and continued his affiliation in Wisconsin and Arkansas.

It was in 1965, at the UW-Madison Homecoming where he met his future bride, Charlene Gurke, on a blind date, arranged by her cousin with whom he worked. They married at Holy Ghost Church in Wood Dale, Ill., on February 19, 1966, and just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. After seven years of marriage they were blessed with the adoption of infant twins, Dina and Neal, and two years later were blessed with a little girl, Michelle, from Vietnam.

His hobbies and interests included baseball, football, and bowling. His favorite teams included the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Green Bay Packers, and St. Louis Cardinals, and he rarely missed a game. He played league bowling throughout his years at Ralston Purina and played the sport exceptionally well, carrying a very high average. Another passion of his was researching and chronicling his family genealogy. Bill was also an avid bird and nature lover, completing the Master Gardener Program from the University of Arkansas. In his retirement, he spent many hours gardening, planting, and driving his John Deere.

There wasn’t a volunteer tree that he did not dig up and save. What he most loved about retirement was being the fun-loving and goofy “Papa” to his four grandchildren. He enjoyed, and financially supported, both the University Drama Department and the Arts Center of the Ozarks. One of his favorite past-times was playing cards, especially Cribbage, breaking out the cards every time his family visited. His sanctuary was the hilltop sunroom overlooking his property and beyond; watching the birds and listening to his favorite musicals in his Lazy Boy with his two canine companions on either side. His upright and morally just character will forever be a strong influence not only to his family but to many of the people whose lives he touched.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings; Walter, Raymond, Lawrence, and Hank Mathias, and Bernita Edens.

He is survived by his wife, Charlene, three children, Dina Pellow (Chase Bramlett) of Ft. Scott, Kan., Neal Mathias of Springdale, Ark., Michelle Sexton (Farrell) of Fayetteville, Ark., two brothers, Daniel Mathias of Green Bay, Glenn Mathias (Darlene) of Rib Lake, one sister, Hattie Taylor of Neillsville, two sisters-in-law Joyce Mathias of Burnsville, Minn., and Jackie Douglas of Wood Dale, Ill., four grandchildren, Abbi Pellow, Mikala Sexton, Sam Sexton, Savanna Sexton, and one great grandchild, Marilynn Pellow, many nieces and nephews, and his two dog companions, Bella and Charlie.

A rosary was recited in the Chapel of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home, with the Knights of Columbus as honor guard on Monday, March 28, at 5:30 p.m. with a visitation from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial was Tuesday, March 29, at 10 a.m., at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Springdale. Burial with military honors followed at Fairview Cemetery in Fayetteville.
The family would like the thank all of the doctors and nurses on the 4th floor at Washington Regional Hospital for their outstanding care and concern for both Bill and his family. They would also like to extend their gratitude to the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at the Willard Walker Hospice Home; always treating Bill with dignity and respect. Their heartfelt support will not be forgotten.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Raphael Catholic Church Building Fund, 1386 South West End Street, Springdale, AR, 72764 or to The Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, 4703 North Crossover Road, Springdale, AR, 72764.

To sign the online guest book please visit



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel