Robert Harris Matteson Profile Photo

Robert Harris Matteson

March 9, 1923 — November 27, 2023

Robert Harris Matteson


Robert "Bob“ Harris Matteson was born to Nickolus and Ada Matteson March 9th, 1923, in Canyon, Texas. He was the youngest of 5, having 3 sisters (Mildred, Helen, and Alice) and a brother (Howard). As a young boy, he loved a good adventure, often hopping freight trains with his best friend from Texas to Chicago during the summer for something to do. He also loved sports and often talked about how he played football for Lefors High School. He was a big Dallas Cowboys fan. He joined the Marines on September 28th, 1942, before the draft, and was stationed in the South Pacific in the New Hebrides Islands during World War II where he was a radio repairman and gunner. He was a very proud Marine and loved that he was able to serve his country. For the last 3 years of his life, he would wear his WWII Marine Vet hat anytime he left his house and always when he went to the VA for an appointment. After the war, he moved on to his next passion which was photography. He attended photography school in Santa Barbara, California, and ended up working for Langley Studios in Dallas. He won multiple awards for his amazing work from advertisements to celebrity headshots and even went on publicity shoots for the Dallas Cowboys to take photographs of their cheerleaders. Some would say that was the work he was most proud of! He ended his career with Radio Shack as the head of the photography department in Fort Worth at their corporate headquarters and stayed for 25 years until he retired in 1990. Bob was married twice. He married his second wife, Arlene, in 1971, and they were married until she passed away in 1996. Arlene was the love of his life. They met while working during a photoshoot and, from there, were inseparable. Arlene had a son, Larry, who was married to Julia, and Bob quickly became family. He is well known as Uncle Bob to Arlene's relatives, in addition to both of his sisters, Alice and Helen's, kids. After Julia lost her parents in her early 20’s, Bob became like a father to her. He loved his family very much and would do anything for them. He was an amazing grandfather to Lauren, Julia and Larry’s daughter, and played a major role in her upbringing after the death of her father when she was two. He was her “Pops” and she was his little ”Punkin’ ” and they had their own “mutual admiration society”.

After his wife, Arlene, passed, he moved to Ventura, California, to be close to his sisters, and to enjoy life close to the ocean for about 25 years, living independently for as long as he could. He made the move to Spokane, Washington, to be close to Julia and her husband, Dave, and Lauren and her two sons, Hayden and Wyatt, in May of 2021.

He celebrated his 100th birthday on March 9, 2023, and a big party was held for him in Spokane, Washington, with a lot of his California and Texas family members in attendance to celebrate with him.

Bob passed away on November 27, 2023, at home in Spokane. He was four months away from turning 101. Always the optimist, he said that he would live to be at least 120. He loved life, had a wonderful sense of humor, and will be greatly missed.

He is proceeded in death by his parents, his 4 siblings, his wife, Arlene, and his step-son, Larry.

He is survived by his daughter-in-law, Julia Freeland Wills (husband Dave), his granddaughter, Lauren Villalobos, his two great-grandsons, Hayden Swanson and Wyatt Villalobos, his 5 nephews, Les Frost (wife Marilyn), Dennis Frost (wife Brooke), James Frost, Eddie Terrell (wife Elaine), and Michael Terrell (wife Teresa), and his 5 nieces, Diane Lander (husband Ron), Venetia Williams, Angela Bishop, Jill Barthel (husband Kenny), and Kim Chaika (husband George), along with multiple great-nieces and nephews.

His cremated remains are being returned to Texas to Chapelwood Memorial Gardens in Texarkana, where he will be interred next to his wife, Arlene.

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