Our beloved Les peacefully left this earth early on November 28th after a short illness, surrounded by love and family.
He was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, in October 1948 to Felix and Isabel Mattern, where he joined his older sister, Germaine. Sisters Janice, Elaine, Karen and a brother, Brian, then followed him. He lived on the family farm until they moved to Spokane, Washington. When Les was in the third grade, his family moved to Billings.
Les attended Holy Rosary and graduated from West High School in 1966. He then attended Eastern Montana College (MSUB) for two years. During his high school years, he began building houses with his uncle, Vic Bickler, that started a lifelong love for carpentry. Les’s career for construction lasted for decades, building custom homes including building two Elmer’s restaurants for his parents.
After high school, Les worked as a cameraman for KULR-8 TV for a year and acquired a lifelong friend, Ron Olson. Then Les enlisted in the Army in 1968 and he was proud to serve his country. He was a Vietnam veteran and shared his story with the Gazette’s “Vietnam Voices” series.
When he returned from the war, he married Cathy Stevens. In this union, he was blessed with two daughters, Kelley and Kristen. He truly loved his girls and their children, Kailey, Kolbey, Isabella and Abigail. Les married Deborah Krause in 1983 and gained another daughter, Shawnna, and subsequently her children Jessika, Wade and Justin.
Les enjoyed quiet times working crossword puzzles, Sudoku’s while smoking his pipe, watching TV, fishing with grandsons, road trips with his kids and grandkids and spending time with his successions of family dogs. Family gatherings for birthdays and holidays with family were spirited, full of love and laughter.
Les was predeceased by his parents and his brother in law John Sengar. He leaves behind a legacy of love to his wife Deb, his daughters Kelley (Les) Gaustad, Kristen (Erik) Zalenski and Shawnna Krause; his siblings Germaine Sengar, Janice (Erick) Kreuger, Elaine (Cliff) Danielson, Karen (Joe) Marcotte and Brain (Rachel) Mattern. He also leaves behind grandchildren Kailey and Kolbey Gaustad, Isabella and Abigail Zalenski and Jessika, Wade and Justin Eiskant; and his golden retrievers, JJ and KoKo. He will be missed by his treasured friends Ron Olson, Bob Taylor, Randy Adams, Rob Fox and many others too numerous to list.
A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, December 5th at 2:00 pm at Smith West Funeral Chapel at 304 34th Street West.
The family would like to give a special thank you to Billings Clinic oncology staff for their kindness and compassion during our difficult time. You are truly angels.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to PEAKS, Casting for Recovery, American Cancer Society, B.A.R.K., Yellowstone Animal Shelter or a charity of your choice.
We love you and we were blessed to have you in our lives.