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John R. ‘Mike’ Mattson



MARQUETTE, MI – John R. “Mike” Mattson, 80, of Marquette, died Saturday evening, November 11, 2023 at Aurora Baycare Medical Center in Green Bay, surrounded by his loving family after suffering a stroke.

Mike was born on March 10, 1943 in Ishpeming, Michigan, a son of the late John W. and Irene E. (Metsala) Mattson and was a lifelong Upper Peninsula resident. He was a 1961 graduate of Negaunee High School.

Mike was employed for several years at the former Olson Motors in Marquette until starting his own auto repair business, Mattson’s Auto Center in Sands Township. He owned and operated that business from 1980 until his retirement in 2015.

In his free time, Mike enjoyed auto racing for over 50 years at the Sands Speedway, Norway Speedway as well as tracks in Escanaba, Wisconsin and Canada. He was an avid fan and also crew chief for his grandsons in recent years. He also enjoyed hunting, golfing, riding side-by-sides. Mike and his wife, Debbie, enjoyed wintering in Lake Havasu City, Arizona for over 10 years.

He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 50 years, the former Deborah Klit who he married on December 1, 1973 in Marquette; five children, Michele (Mark) Cavin of Marquette, Terri Lorens of Marquette, Mikki (Scott) Tiziani of Marquette, Ken Mattson of Phoenix, AZ, and Carrie (Jeff) Goodney of Marquette; 11 grandchildren, Collin Cavin, Reece Cavin and his fiancÈ, Brooke Johnson, Trent, Taylor and Jade Lorens, Kevin (Sofia Herrera) Tiziani, Jack Tiziani, Bradshaw and Kennedy Mattson, Adyson and Siena Goodney; two sisters, Leona (Art) Sakkinen of Calumet and Cindy (Mike) Harju of Negaunee; one brother, Russell (Lorraine) Mattson of Two Harbors, MN; a brother-in-law, Bill Poirier; also numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding Mike in death besides his parents was a brother, Kenneth Mattson and sister, Signi Poirier.

The Mattson family will greet relatives and friends on Monday, November 27th at Redeemer Lutheran Church beginning at 11 a.m. until the time of the memorial service in the church at 1 p.m. with the Rev. Chad Ott officiating. A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at American Legion Post 44 in Marquette beginning at 2 p.m. Monday.

Canale-Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the Mattson family where memories of Mike can be shared at

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