Obituary: DENNIS MATHISEN
August 10, 1939 – July 22, 2020
Dennis “Matt” Mathisen (80), lawyer, banker, entrepreneur and adventurer sadly passed away at home on July 22, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. A testament to his unbelievable tenacity, Dennis lived more than 18 years with Waldenstrm’s Macroglobulanemia, after being given only a five year prognosis. He later succumbed to a rare complication, CNS Lymphoma, but he fought bravely.
Surpassing his prolific and impressive resume, was his character. Dennis was a consummate lover of life. His boundless energy was a source of amazement for all his friends. Dennis was an adventurer: heli-skier, horseman, fisherman, sailor, swimmer, soldier, scuba diver, hunter, road biker, golfer, tennis player, entertainer, art collector, traveler, opera lover, and wine enthusiast. His generous and irreverent spirit was imbued in everything he did – it was infectious and swelled to include everyone around him. Dennis’s keen humor and sharp wit were always accompanied by his irresistible smile, contagious laugh and the twinkle in his bright blue eyes. Optimism fueled his many accomplishments, tempered only by his grace and humility. His tenacity and positivity was impossible to ignore; he never knew a stranger who wasn’t better for having met him.
Dennis enjoyed many awards and accolades through the years, but was most humbled by, and proud of, his Ripple of Hope award in 2011 from the RFK Foundation for his work for human rights. As a mentor and friend, he was generous with his time and knowledge. He was known to be a vivacious and jubilant host.
In addition to the RFK Foundation, Dennis was actively involved in the nonprofit sector throughout his career, serving as Trustee of Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, Minneapolis Art Institute, The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, The Blake Schools, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Minneapolis Medical Foundation, the Minnesota Humanities Commission, The Mayo Clinic Leadership Council, and a member of the Board of Visitors to the University of Minnesota Law School.
Dennis was born August 10, 1939 in Minneapolis, MN, and graduated from the University of Minnesota receiving both a B.S. and Juris Doctor degree. He had an enormously successful career spanning diverse fields – starting as tax attorney in the public sector, to corporate law, M&A work, and banking and finance then onto real estate development.
Dennis is survived by Gail, his beloved wife & partner, his greatest love with whom he celebrated an enviable 57 years of loving, ribbing, laughing, traveling – a partnership that was their marriage and their legacy.
In addition to Gail (Johnson) Mathisen, Dennis is survived by his two sons Mark (Maggie) and Peter (Annie), and his three grandchildren Ethan, Gabriel and Quinlan. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Clara & Math Mathisen of Minneapolis. The world is certainly, absurdly, dimmer without his bright light.
A virtual memorial service will be held at a later date; in lieu of flowers please consider a donation to any of the following charities that captured his heart:
RFK Human Rights Foundation https://rfkhumanrights.org/donate
Myeloma Team at Mayo Clinic in Arizona https://mayoclinic.org
The Page Education Foundation (MN) https://www.page-ed.org/donate
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America https://donate.lls.org/lls/