Michael E. Mathes, 68, formerly of Kiel, retired publisher of the Tri-County News, died peacefully on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee after a brief but courageous fight with brain cancer.
Mike was born Sept. 1, 1953 in Sheboygan, oldest child of the late Earl and Betty (Wendling) Mathes. He attended Kiel High School where he was a four-sport athlete and an award winning public speaker, graduating in 1971. He continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse where he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. In 1980 Mike returned to Kiel, joining his father at the Kiel Record, presently known as the Tri-County News, first as a sportswriter and photographer and later shifting to publisher. On Sept. 25, 1982 he married Ann Kandler at St. John Church in Little Chute. In addition to his involvement with the newspaper business Mike was also a church and community leader, sports enthusiast, coach and musician. Of all Mike’s many roles, his most cherished were those within his family, the newest being grandpa.
He is survived by his wife, Ann; daughters Rebecca (Kaleb) Gottwald and Rachel (David) Wilkinson; and his three grandchildren, Robert Gottwald and Judah and Rosalie Wilkinson. Mike is additionally survived by his siblings Patricia Zastrow, Joe (Pam) Mathes and Tim (Cindy) Mathes; mother-in-law Imelda Kandler; siblings-in-law Jim (Susan) Kandler and Margie (Joe) Wegand; and his uncles and aunts, Will (Lora) Mathes, Darwin Kanz, Clara Mathes and Elaine Brill (Vern Malchow).
Mike is further survived by many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law Robert Kandler; brother-in-law Rich Zastrow; and several aunts and uncles.
Per Mike’s wishes cremation has taken place and services will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7 at St. Peter’s UCC, Kiel. Officiating at the service will be the Rev. James McKinzie with the Rev. Judine Duerwaechter assisting. The family will greet relatives and friends at the church from 1 until 4:45 p.m. The family has requested all those attending the visitation to please kindly wear a mask. To view the service via livestream, please click https://youtu.be/JZvK3jGFFMk. A private burial will take place at Kiel Belitz Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be established in Mike’s name.