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John L. Mathes - July 20, 2010


John L. Mathes was born on May 30, 1929 at Mitchell, Mo. He was the youngest of eight children born to John M. and Rosa Lee Asher Mathes. He received his early schooling in Leadwood and started high school in Flat River. Mo. before he signed a professional baseball contract to play AA baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals at age 17.
John was married to Audrey Polk on July 16, 1947 at Cairo, Ill. They were married on a Thursday and John left on Friday with the baseball team for a six-day road trip. In 1950 they moved to North Platte, Neb. where John played first base and pitched for the North Platte Plainsmen of the Nebraska Independent League.
In 1959 he was named All American First Baseman at the National Baseball Congress in Wichita, Kan. and in 1991 he was inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame.
It was in North Platte where he began his career in law enforcement. In 1960 John and Audrey and their young family moved to Grant, Neb. where John served as the chief of police. Six years later he became Grant’s city superintendent, a position he held for 29 years until he retired in 1994.
When John gave up baseball, he discovered golf and was an avid golfer for the rest of his life. He was the driving force in the development of the Grant Golf Club, where he was awarded a life membership in 1994. At the time of his death he was actively involved in three different leagues at the golf course.
He also worked at the Aurora Co-op based out of Grant during the summer months. His other loves were singing and the fellowship he enjoyed with his church families at the First Congregational Church in Grant and the Trinity Lutheran Church in Casa Grande, Ariz., where he and Audrey spent their winters after retirement.
John suffered a series of strokes the first part of July and had been transferred to the Swedish Medical Center in Denver where he died on July 20, 2010 at the age of 81.
John was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and four sisters.
He is survived by those he loved—his wife of 63 years, Audrey; daughter Jeanne and husband Rob Winning of Moriarty, N.M.; three sons, John David and wife Jana of Pratt, Kan., Mike and wife Kathy of Topeka, Kan. and Tim of Las Vegas; six grandchildren—Tori and Cody Winning, Andy, Cassie, David, and Jeff Mathes; two great-grandchildren; other relatives and friends.
Cremation was chosen. A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 24, 2010 at the First Congregational Church in Grant with Pastor Larry Booth officiating.
Burial of cremains will occur at a later date in the Fairview Cemetery in Grant.
A memorial to the Congregational Church has been established.
Bullock-Long Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.