STEVENS POINT, WI, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, B CO, 2D LAR BN, RCT-2, 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC BETHESDA 06/13/2005
LCPL Mattek was the president of his class three out of four years in high school in Antigo, WI.
“He was a great kid,” Tom Weix, Mattek’s wrestling coach when he was a high school senior, recalled. He was a go-getter, definitely a leader.”
After high school Mattek attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Mattek enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2003 and deployed to Iraq March of that year.
Antigo High Principal and a coach Thomas Zamzow said:” I could tell even then he definitely was a leader and a motivator of the team. He was willing to step up and set a good example.”
Mattek was a captain of the football team when he was a senior linebacker and was among those in his class voted most likely to succeed. “He was one of those kids who you appreciated because he was willing to take on responsibility and be a leader,” the principal said.
“He was a unique individual. He just lived life to the fullest,” Weix said.
At his funeral the Rev. Jeremiah Worman told mourners “John was proud. He was proud of all he was,” and described the Marine as a farmer’s son, a guy best known as “Johnny” and a military man “doing his best, being proud of his community, country and God.”
Before he left for Iraq, Mattek gave his family a letter to open only in case of his death. His brother, Matt Mattek, read the letter in which the Marine promised to “fear no man, no enemy” and vowed to forgo heaven “if hell is where the fight is … They shall not mourn my death, but celebrate my life. Because every man dies, but not every many really lives. I have lived.”
His sister, Jill Mattek, read a separate letter in which Mattek recalled going downhill skiing when he was 4. Mattek said that experience introduced him to what he called “the free spirited feelin’. When I felt that feeling, it never left,” he wrote. “And doing things such as this keeps me free and nothing stops me.” In closing, Mattek told his sister, “We all see the same thing. We just look at it differently. Live hard, drive fast, take chances.” He signed the letter, Johnny.
When Mattek was his high school senior class president, he offered the welcoming remarks for the graduation ceremonies and asked his classmates for a moment of silence to honor those who might not be present for the 10-year class reunion in 2009.