Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Jean Marilyn (Mattson) Holst

ASHLAND, Wis. - Jean Marilyn (Mattson) Holst of Ironwood Township, Michigan, passed away peacefully at North Shore Healthcare in Ashland on Oct. 16, 2022.

She was born on Feb. 6, 1933, the daughter of Hjalmer and Signe (Smith) Mattson. She attended A.L. Norrie School and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood, Michigan, with the class of 1950. She then attended the Northwest Institute of Medical Technology in Minneapolis.

Her first job was in the lab at St. Joseph's Hospital in Ashland. She then came to Aspirus Grand View Hospital. She worked locally in the medical field for 35 years. Mom loved her job and enjoyed working with all the medical staff, co-workers and patients she met in those years.

On May 23, 1953, she married William "Bill" Holst, her husband of 67 years, and raised the "D's" - Debbie, Diane and Dale. She was a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Ironwood.

Mom was always ready to take on a challenge in life. She took on what we today would maybe call "a bucket list," in which she engaged in many different activities. An article was written in the Ironwood Daily Globe about the 1948 Junior Ski Jumping Tournament staged on the Burma Slide and said: "One of the highlights was the performance of a young girl skier Jean Mattson, who spilled on the first two tries and came through with a standing leap on her third try attempt." As the lone woman jumper, Mom was incredibly proud of this.

Mom also drove her brother Ken's stock car No. 54 in the Powderpuff races at the Gogebic County Fairgrounds. Not a checker flag performance but a racer, nevertheless.

Many activities filled Mom's life. She square danced, played the piano, waterskied, ice skated, roller skated at the Colonial, skied at Mt. Zion and snowmobiled (riding her own machine, of course) and once broke her leg climbing a bank. That was our mom.

Mom told us many stories about the Smith family farm in Saxon, about everyday life working the family farm for her mom, aunts, uncles and grandparents, about the high-spirited family picnics and the music that family members played and sang at the campfires. These were fond memories for her always.

We spent all our family get together and weekends at our family cottage on Pine Lake for 60 years. Mom made sure that there was an abundance of homemade cookies, cakes, bakery and coffee, always ready and available for our company and us. We were all spoiled when we came to the cottage. Everything was always in place for us to enjoy. We were blessed with many good memories.

We all had homemade knitted mittens, hats, scarves, afghans, sweaters and sewed homemade Barbie clothes for our dolls and, of course, the first day of school dress. The list could go on and on. Mom was awesome.

Grandma spoiled her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There were sleepovers with peanut butter toast in the morning, cut into four quarters with or without the crust. Her famous "sh--" on a shingle, Hawaiian hot dogs, Jimmy Dean, or bologna and pickle sandwiches. Many were packaged to go back to school or apartments. Mom and Dad followed all the grandchildren's activities. They tied hockey skates and endured ice arenas, battled the weather at cross country meets, track meets and football games, traveled to basketball games and who can forget either cold or warm bug-filled slow-moving Little League and softball games, piano recitals, band concerts and music shows. They were both always so proud of their activities, and grandma Jean always brought snacks.

Grandma Jean was the person to call for anything. If someone was sick, it was a no-brainer who you would call first. We called her "Dr. Jean." One of her grandchildren told his preschool teacher that his grandmother was a doctor and in our world, she was. She was a comfort and support system for all things. Mom could be counted on to be there for anyone that called, and she never failed to deliver. She was generous with her time and talents and was famous for her "Oui Oui" reply when something went wrong. We loved to hear it and it made us all smile. We will miss that. Her standard reply when there was a lot of food leftovers was "Find a container; you can freeze that." We will, Mom.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; her parents, Hjalmer and Signe Mattson; in-laws, Oscar and Ida Holst; a son, Dale: a brother and sister-in-law, Kenneth and Nancy Mattson; a sister and brother-in-law, Delores Vaara and Bob Vaara: brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Dean and Corrine Holst, Shirley and Bob Martini, Evelyn and Sid Hovey, Doris and Gib Hild, Florian Partyka, Eileen, and Donald Sanders.

Jean is survived by her daughters, Debbie (Jeff) Vandevoorde and Diane (Bob) Zell; six grandchildren, Amy (Ken) Saari, Sara (Justin) Reid, Jessica Zell, Justin Zell, Rachel (Clint) Kordus and Jordan (Tawny) Holst; six great-grandchildren, Gavin, Connor, Paige, Chloe, Kinley and Rylee; sisters and brother-in-law, Marilyn Partyka and Nancy (Bob) Sertic; many nieces and nephews, and a dear friend, Gay Stevens and her family.

At Jean's wishes, a private funeral service will be held with immediate family. Burial will take place at Sunset Acres in Ironwood Township.

The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood to honor Jean's life legacy. You can leave condolences or a tribute at