Harold “Shorty” Matt

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Lifetime resident of the Elkader area, Harold Edward Matt, fondly known as “Shorty”, died at the age of 90 with amazing grace on March 21 at the Mercy Medical Center in West Des Moines after a battle with leukemia.  He was born November 24, 1924 in the rural St. Olaf, Iowa to Leo and Rose (Gebhart) Matt.  He attended the Garnavillo St. Joseph’s Catholic School through tenth grade school and graduated from the Garnavillo High School in 1942.  

He worked on the family farm to help his widowed mother until 1957.  For the next 30 years of his career, Shorty enjoyed working with farmers through a variety of agricultural businesses in Elkader, IA such as Rhomberg Implement, Power’s Feed Company and retiring from the Elkader Cooperative Company in 1987 after surviving a horrific petroleum truck accident.  He had also worked part-time as a printer at the Statistical and Addressing Company.  For the past several years, he enjoyed making dealer trades around the Midwest for Brown’s Sales and Leasing.  

On August 8, 1959 he married Patricia Hyde at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elkader.  They were blessed with two children, Mic and Mike.  He and his wife enjoyed collecting antiques for many years.  They established the Veteran Memorial Flag Exhibit around the Clayton County Courthouse, collecting well over 100 flags for display on American holidays. They also loved traveling to Europe, Russia, Alaska, England, Medjugorje, Ireland, and his favorite trip to the Holy Land.  

Harold loved to sing!  He sang with the Elkader Barbershop Chorus for 60 years, serving as assistant director for several years.  He was a long-time member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, its choir and the Knights of Columbus.  He always felt honored to serve as an altar boy for mass. 

He took great pride in preserving the Christmas Candlelight Drive tradition started by Herman Schramfer.  He was a member of the Elkader Lion’s Club and Elkader Golf & Country Club.  Shorty loved to go snowmobiling, building and flying remote control airplanes.  Believe it or not, he even boxed competitively in his younger years at the Elkader Athletic Club.  

Harold is survived by his children, Michele of West Des Moines and Michael (June) of Phoenix and their children Christian, Connor and Shayla; his brother Melvin (Ruby) Matt of Des Moines; several nieces, nephews and cousins.  He is preceded in death by his wife Pat in 2014, parents, two sisters Evelyn (Gene) Stubbe and Mildred (Julian) Sprunck, his brother Fr. Irwin Matt.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the City of Elkader – Save the Dam campaign.

Visitation with the family will be on Friday, March 27 from 4-7 p.m. and one hour before a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, March 28, at 11 a.m. at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader with the Very Rev. Paul R. Peters as Celebrant. A celebration of Shorty’s life will be held immediately following the service in the St. Joseph Church Hall

 
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