In Memory of




Obituary for Nancy Muriel Matthisen

Nancy Muriel Cookson Matthisen, was born December 9, 1928 in Manistique, Michigan. She died on November 6, 2023, just shy of 95 years old. Her parents were Everett Cookson and Muriel Mackintosh Cookson. Her sister, Madge Cookson Warra, preceded her in death, 1974.

Nancy loved education and graduated as Valedictorian from Manistique High School in 1946. She then attended the University of Minnesota, obtaining a B.A. in 1950 and an M.A. in 1951. She was elected to two honorary societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Lambda.

After teaching at Valparaiso University, Indiana, she married Dick M. Matthisen and resumed a teaching career in Cincinnati Ohio. A move to Wisconsin brought her to Carroll College and then to a 20 year teaching position at University of Wisconsin, Waukesha.

She was known for her interest in prairie restoration, and for beginning a prairie project for the Milwaukee Girls and Boys Club located on Lake Keesus. Nancy also worked at Monches Farm recommending and selling perennial plants for 25 years. The “Nancy’s Choice” plants were always reliable.

After retirement she served 20 years at the Milwaukee Art Museum, receiving a gold star for service. In that position she led school tours and then became the trainer for new docents.

Nancy enjoyed playing bridge in both Wisconsin and in Oregon after moving there in 2017. She had many friends from both groups.

Survivors are daughter Jean Matthisen Zylka, son James Matthisen, daughter in law Leslie Jones and grandchildren Isabel Lira, Erica Matthisen, Dylan Matthisen and Daisy Jones.

Per Nancy’s wishes, there will be no formal services.

Memorials in Nancy’s name can be made to The Columbia Gorge Food Bank or a charity of your choice. Or, as she often, give a $5 or $10 to the man or woman on the corner who needs it.

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