Cover photo for Ronald "Ernie" G. Matson, Jr.'s Obituary
1961 Ronald 2022

Ronald "Ernie" G. Matson, Jr.

April 19, 1961 — September 22, 2022

Munising

Ronald “Ernie” Matson, Jr., age 61, of Munising, died following a lengthy illness late Thursday evening, September 22, 2022 at UP Health System – Marquette.  He was born in Munising to the late Ronald “Blackie” and Darlene (Magnusson) Matson, Sr. on April 19, 1961.   Ernie grew up in Munising and Marquette.  It was in his younger years he developed a love of sports that carried with him throughout his life.  Ernie was a gifted athlete and growing up he played football, baseball, and hockey.  He was a member of the Wm. G. Mather High School Class of 1979.  Ernie married Kristen Machleit on September 6, 1986 and together raised their children.  Ernie was a proud member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

He was a fifth-generation commercial fisherman on the Great Lakes and was able to fish with his grandfather, father, brother, uncle, cousins, and children.  Ernie fished.  Ernie loved to fish.  He fished gill nets and trap net boats on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.  Ernie fished out of Fairport, Naubinway, Beaver Island, Whitefish Point, Grand Marais, Little Lake, and mostly Munising.  He had great knowledge and respect for the Lake.  He enjoyed his title of Captain Ron and loved smoking fish and establishing Cap’n Ron’s fish truck.  Family and friends always gathered around the fish house.  That was Ernie’s homebase, and after a long day of work, he enjoyed sitting in his chair by the dock visiting with friends.

As mentioned above, Ernie loved sports and excelled at everything he did.  He enjoyed downhill skiing, cross country skiing, golfing on men’s league, bowling on men’s and mixed leagues, playing hockey on a league in Marquette, but will be remembered most athletically for his abilities on the fastpitch softball field.  Ernie could pitch a ball!   He collected many trophies, tournament team, and MVP accolades.  His love and talents of hockey and softball were passed on as he coached his children in those sports.  Ernie enjoyed being outdoors and camping.  He had a gift for talking and never met anyone he couldn’t talk to.  He loved to make people laugh.  Ernie loved his family and his dogs….Golden Retrievers – the only real dog.  They were his fish house dogs.

Ernie was recently highlighted on the National Geographic show Uncharted when Gordon Ramsay traveled across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and highlighted Captain Ron and his smoked fish sausage.  It is fair to say that Ernie stole the show.  Stealing a line from the movie Tin Cup, Ernie was a keeper.  He loved dogs, kids, and old people.  He was a true icon of Munising and will be missed.

He is survived by his wife of over thirty-six years – Kris Matson of Munising; children – Derrick (Jessica) Corp of Ishpeming, Ronald Matson III of Arizona, Katy Matson of  Munising, Rick Matson (Jessica Pomazal) of Denver, CO, and Molly (Zachary) Pavlat of Escanaba; grandchildren – Ozzie, Olivia, Bella, Ethan, Oliver, Gerard, Cecelia, and Lillian; siblings – Donna “Dodie” (Jim) Gauthier of Howards Grove, WI, Tim Matson of Grand Marais, and Julie Matson of Munising; and numerous nieces and nephews.  Ernie was preceded in death by his parents, brother Larry “Bubie” Mrowka, and parents-in-law – James and Geraldine Machleit.

Services will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.  Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Deacon Tom Moseley will conduct Ernie’s funeral service in the funeral home’s chapel at 3:00 p.m.  A time of visiting following the funeral will be at the American Legion in Munising from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ronald "Ernie" G. Matson, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Fellowship Gathering following the service

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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