Bill Mathisen

William A. Mathisen

October 30, 1954 ~April 26, 2019

William A. Mathisen, better known as Bill Mathisen, was born in Astoria, Oregon on October 30, 1954 to Bonnie Vermilyea Mathisen and Carl William Mathisen.  

At the age of two, on December 23, 1956, Bill and his family moved to Ketchikan, Alaska.  He lived in Ketchikan making mischief with his friends, delivering newspapers and getting into trouble with his younger sisters Linda, Karen and Suzi.  He was proud of his Mom Bonnie for her work as a telephone operator in the Ketchikan ACS. He moved to Juneau, where he graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School. While in high school he worked on the Alaska ferry system, enjoying time in Seattle and back home.

After high school he worked and lived in various places, from the Aleutian chain to Kaktovik, to Barrow, Wainwright, Point Hope and Fairbanks, to Anchorage and finally to Nome. 

Through the years before calling Nome his home, he had married twice and with wife Lee Ann had four children:  William Jr., Carl Gustav, Mellissa and Michael.  He enjoyed watching William play hockey, and sat in the bleachers while Carl was wrestling in tournaments at Nome Public School.  Daughter Mellissa informed him he was a grandpa when Ashton was born.  Second grandson Ollie was born to Mellissa and her husband Rick Benavides. Son Michael made his dad proud when he joined the Marines with the responsibility of being a jet mechanic on a “Tomcat” fighter jet.  

In Nome he worked as placer gold miner with his Dad Carl, as a bartender, and, finally, as a commercial fisherman harvesting red king crab and halibut, benefitting from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation CDQ quota.  His 32-foot fishing boat was originally named “Danny Boy” by owner Dr. Lewis.  Upon transfer of ownership Bill rechristened the boat the “Belmont Rose.”   He had met Rose Fosdick in 1990 when she returned to work in her hometown. 

Bill and Rose married on May 28, 2004 at the Nome courthouse on Front Street.  They both enjoyed recalling the wedding planning, the wedding ceremony and the reception at the Aurora Hotel—especially because they spontaneously made a decision to marry on a Friday and then were married the following Friday. That resulted in a hectic week of ordering rings (made by Jano), ordering a dress by phone from the shop at Captain Cook, contacting family and friends to invite them to join them in the wedding and all the hustle bustle of a Nome style event. Bill seriously and happily took on the role and responsibility to be a Dad to Dale Tiger Fosdick Jr. and Christopher Tyler.

Bill made friends easily and truly appreciated deep conversations and laughter.  Bill was one of the most generous people on earth.  He was always lending a hand to others and reaching out when they were in need.

Although there were many trying times in Bill’s life, he always found the strength to keep on going to make the memories we shared. 

He is survived by his mother Bonnie Vermilyea Mathisen, his father Carl (Diane) Mathisen, his wife Rose Fosdick, his sisters Linda Mathisen, Susan (Gary) Congleton, Karen (Conrad) Villegas, his kids William, Carl, Michael, Mellissa, Christopher Tyler, Dale Tiger Fosdick Jr.  He leaves grandchildren - the loves of his life: Elliott, Liam, Ashton, Ollie, Robin, Cameron, Daylon. He loved his nieces and nephews and got to know their own children.  He also leaves relatives and friends who he kept close whether they were nearby or far away throughout Alaska, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, New York.

A memorial service was held May 2 at the Methodist Church and burial took place on June 21, 2019.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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