Ervin Mathes was born on July 2, 1917, to John N. and Jeannette (Vos) Mathes. He was the sixth of their ten children. They lived on a farm about three miles north of Pella, Iowa. Ervin helped on the farm and received his formal education nearby at the European No. 3 Country Grade School.
In the fall of 1942, he and Johanna Myrtle Van Roekel became engaged to be married. In December of that year, Uncle Sam called Ervin to serve his country overseas during World War II. Ervin served as an airplane sheet metal worker with U.S. Army in Rhineland, Normandy, Northern France and Central Europe and was awarded 4 Bronze Stars. They continued their relationship by letter until he returned home on September 5, 1945. They married one month later, on October 6, 1945, at the home of her parents, John and Blanche (Witzenburg) Van Roekel near Otley, Iowa. The First Reformed Church of Pella became their place of worship.
They made their home on a farm one-fourth mile east of Otley and to this union two children were born, Janice Beth and Verlan Gene. Ervin enjoyed farming the 80 acres, raising corn, beans, oats and hay. Baby chicks came every spring and they grew to be laying hens. He kept busy farrowing to finishing hogs year around and one cow kept the family in milk. Ervin had the skill to make and repair equipment with tools from his shop and if a toy got broken, “daddy can fix it”.
In his “spare time”, he would make horses and other farm items out of scraps around the farm.
He loved playing with his grandson and step-great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Ervin and Johanna had been blessed with many years of being together and when their health began to fail in November/December 2004, they became residents at Jefferson Place in Pella.
Their family and friends helped them celebrate many wedding anniversaries together and their 60th was observed in October, 2005. Johanna passed away on December 21, 2007. Ervin continued to make Jefferson Place his home, enjoying the activities with other residents and staff. He remained a member of the First Reformed Church in Pella until the time of his death. Ervin went to be with the Lord on October 9, 2012, at Jefferson Place in Pella at the advanced age of 95 years.
Those who will cherish his memory are his two children and their spouses: Janice and Walter D. Graham, Verlan and Connie Mathes all of Pella; one grandson, Darvin Graham and his wife, Allison of Toledo, Iowa; and three step-grandsons: Jeff, Paul and Tim Prangler and their families. Of his original family, Ervin leaves two sisters: Evelyn (Arie) Beyer and Edith and her husband, Irvin Huyser all of Pella; and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bernie J. and Tanna Mae Van Roekel also of Pella.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Johanna; his parents, John N. and Jeannette Mathes; his siblings and spouses: Valentine and Jennie Mathes, Sarah Mathes, William and Beulah Mathes, Agnes Mathes, Esther and Herman Slykhuis, Mable and Edward De Vries, Arie Beyer, Harold and Pauline Mathes; his parents-in-law, John and Blanche Van Roekel; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Henrietta (Van Roekel) and Harold Van Zante, Jenella (Van Roekel) and Marion Verros, Ada (Van Roekel) and Arie Beyer.
Funeral services were held on Friday, October 12, 2012 at the First Reformed Church in Pella. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.