John Bernard Mattson Jr., 75, of Mashpee died August 19 after a long battle with mantle cell lymphoma and pulmonary fibrosis.
Mr. Mattson was the husband of Paula (Finn) Mattson. Two weeks after they started dating, he asked her to go steady. When she said no, he asked her to marry him. They were married for 53 years at the time of his death.
Born in Chelsea, Mr. Mattson grew up in Waltham.
After graduating from Waltham Trade School, he enlisted in the US Navy, where he served as an airman on board the aircraft carrier USS Randolph.
Following his service, Mr. Mattson was a firefighter with the Quincy Fire Department for 32 years. He retired in 2002.
He loved the outdoors. As a member of the Cape Cod Stranding Network, Mr. Mattson would walk the beaches and help stranded turtles. He also enjoyed kayaking, clamming, crabbing, fishing, and bike riding.
In addition to his wife, he leaves his children, Elizabeth Ganem of Medfield, Erik Mattson and his wife, Kristin Mattson, of Sandwich, and Amy Dell and her husband, Herb Dell, of Quincy; his six grandchildren, Steve, James, and Emily Ganem, and Erik Jr., Sarah, and Olivia Mattson; and his sister, Jean Mandolfo of Falmouth.
Visiting hours will be held on Monday from 9 to 10 AM at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 74 Algonquin Avenue, Mashpee.
A graveside service will follow at 10:30 AM at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wild Care Animal Shelter, 10 Smith Lane, Eastham, MA 02642.