James Lambert “JL” Mattern

Mattern, Jae
November 5, 1945 ~ January 23, 2016


James Lambert “JL” Mattern, 70, Brandon, SD, passed away on January 23, 2016 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

A memorial service will be held at Heartland Funeral Home, at 10:30 AM on January 29, 2016.

James Lambert “JL” Mattern was born on November 5, 1945 in Aberdeen, SD to Lambert and Esther Underwood Mattern. JL grew up in Aberdeen, SD where he attended Sacred Heart Catholic School as a child and then went to Central High School. He joined the Navy in 1962 and served for 4 years. He served during the Vietnam War on the aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk. From a young age, his true passion was for motor sports and he loved to share this passion with others. He was the “Go-To” guy for any racing question, be it past, present, or future. He made a career of being around racing and as a result travelled the world. Though not an exhaustive list, some of his more memorable employers included Hughes Aircraft, Boeing, Escondido Ready-Mix Concrete, John Fitzpatrick Racing on the IMSA circuit, NB Ventures /Winston Eagle on the Thunderboat Racing circuit, QVC on the 50/50 tour, Ken Grody Ford, and ScreenWorks/NEP on the NASCAR circuit and NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. He reluctantly retired in 2015 from being on the NHRA series but was never far away from a good race.

He will be missed by many all over the world as his friendships stretched to all corners of the earth. If you were his friend, you were his friend for life. He loved being on the road and meeting new people. He loved his family, friends, and dogs and always enjoyed great food, great stories, and great jokes. He invariably had a new joke to tell or a past experience to recount that made his listeners laugh out loud. He was a practical joke enthusiast. He loved life fast and loud.

JL is survived by his spouse, Carolyn, Brandon, SD; his daughters, Sheryl Mattern, Brandon, SD, Jennifer Mattern, Seattle, WA, and Jacqueline (Robert) Valdivia, San Diego, CA; his sister, Kathleen Lemmon Viereck, Sioux Falls, SD; and his grandchildren, Faith, Justin, and Phoebe Valdivia.

JL was preceded in death by his parents, Lambert and Esther Mattern; siblings, Gene Mattern, Yvonne Mattern, and Mary Mattern.

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  • Kim Vetter says:

    I know that no words can help ease the pain and loss that you are feeling right now. It’s the little things, the small, everyday occurrences that you’ll remember. The laughs, the stories, the smiles. And even though it seems like you can never recover from your loss, it is these very memories that will help push the pain away and bring back the smiles. Stay strong – Kim Vetter

  • Wayne Thing says:

    If you made friends with JL, you were a friend for life. I worked with him on the NHRA circuit, and we had hydroplane experiences in common, as well. He was a good man and generous friend. My sympathies to his family. We’ll all miss his stories and jokes, as they were a part of his fabric, and made him a joy to work with or just be around.- Wayne Thing

  • JohnnyMoto says:

    I was very fortunate to have spent a lot of time with JL on the NHRA tour. JL was special person with a wealth of stories. I feel I lost a brother and miss him greatly. I know he is now in good hands. May the family be strong in these trying times.

  • Jeff Smyk says:

    JL, you will be missed. I always looked forward to the stories and jokes. I was happy to work along side you with the NHRA, but I was proud to know you as my Friend. My condolences to Carolyn and the rest of the family.

  • Jana Moto says:

    I.will miss JL his humor, jokes and stirring the pot. And his great stories.
    My Prayers go to Carolyn and family.

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