John Martin Matsen, III, age 86, left this life on November 9, 2019. John’s entire life was a series of accomplishments, service, testimony, and dedication. He spent years as a mentor, instructor, and professor--helping others see their strengths and use them well.
John was born February 7, 1933, to Bessie Jackson Matsen and John Martin “Jack” Matsen, Jr., the oldest of five children. John grew up in close interaction with his cousins and aunts and uncles, developing a close affinity with his extended family and getting into trouble with his cousins. He married Joneen Johnson in 1959. They are the parents of 11 children, 33 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren.
He taught his children to pray, drive motorcycles, work hard, love their mother, speak articulately with multisyllabic words, do yard work, park trailers, “keep their options open,” and “act, don’t react.” He adored Joneen, and they enjoyed 60 years of marriage.
He graduated from Los Angeles High School and served a nearly three-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norway. John loved his close ties to Norway and could speak Norwegian to his last days. He traveled all over the world and returned to the people of Norway many times.
John graduated from BYU (BS) and UCLA Medical School, where he also conducted his internship and residency. John never did things halfway. Within the first decade of his career, he completed two fellowships, rose to the rank of professor in four departments, and served as the Director of the Hospital Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at the University of Minnesota. In 1974, John was recruited to the University of Utah School of Medicine as a professor of Pathology and Pediatrics. He served as Director of the Clinical Laboratories there from 1974 to 1993. He had an extensive career at the University of Utah; his past titles include Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, 12 years as Chair of the Department of Pathology, Dean of the School of Medicine, University Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, and emeritus Professor of Pathology and Pediatrics. He deeply valued his colleagues, his team, and his recruits at both institutions.
Dr. Matsen was one of the founders of ARUP Laboratories and served as ARUP’s founding CEO and President from 1984 to 1993 and as Chair of the Board of Directors from 1993 to 1999.
Dr. Matsen had a long list of national responsibilities, recognitions, and awards. He was inducted into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Utah. Most recently, The University of Utah has established the John M. Matsen, MD, Presidential Endowed Chair of Pathology.
John served in multiple leadership positions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Stake Presidencies, bishoprics, and High Council positions. After his retirement, Dr. Matsen served on multiple health- and medical-related committees.
John was preceded in death by his daughter, Susan (1963), his parents, and two of his siblings, and is survived by his siblings, Jeff and Judi, and his wife Joneen and the remaining ten children: Marilee (John), Sharon (Aaron), Coleen, Sally (Darren), Jack (Cherie), Marty (Angie), Maureen, Caytie (Dave), Carl (Cindy), and Jeri (Chad).
The family would like to thank Rocky Mountain Hospice and Creekside Senior Living for the exceptional care.
A viewing will be held on Friday, November 15, 2019, at Russon Mortuary in Farmington (1941 N. Main St.) from 6–8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 16, 2019, at the Farmington South Stake Center (695 S. 200 E.) at 11 a.m. A viewing will also be held prior to the services from 9–10:30 a.m. in the Stake Center. Interment will be conducted at the Farmington Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the John M. Matsen, MD, Presidential Endowed Scholarship fund:
To contact John’s family, please text (801) 515-4802 or submit online condolences.
To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral section.
John M. Matsen, MD, Presidential Endowed Scholarship Fund
332 SOUTH 1400 EAST, SUITE 150, SALT LAKE CITY UT 84112