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 Mathias A. “Matt” Himsl

Mathias A. “Matt” Himsl

Saskatchewan, Canada
Death 30 Dec 2006 (aged 94)
Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana, USA
Burial Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana, USA
Memorial ID 17300611 · View Source
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Mathias A. "Matt" Himsl, 94, longtime state legislator, prominent Kalispell business man, educator and civic leader died on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006, at the Brendan House in Kalispell of natural causes surrounded by his family.

He was born on Sept. 17, 1912 at Bethune, Sask., Canada, the son of Victor and Clara (Engels) Himsl.

The family moved to Plevna when he was 1 year old. He attended grade school and high school in Plevna, graduated from St. John's University in Minnesota in 1934 and earned a master's degree from the University of Montana in 1940.

Matt taught school and was superintendent of schools in Broadus for 11 years. He married Lois Wholwend in 1940. He and Lois moved to Kalispell in 1945 when he purchased an interest in the Dodge-Plymouth dealership, joining his father-in-law, Benedict Wholwend, establishing Himsl-Wholwend Motors.

Matt had a long career of community service, including leadership in the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Flathead County High School Board, state president of the Montana Automobile Dealers Association, and the president of the Kalispell Kiwanis Club. Matt was also the editorial voice, "Skywriter" for KGEZ radio, of which he was part owner. He was very active in Red Cross work and was elected to its National Board of Governors and is listed in Who's Who in America. He was a director of the Conrad Bank (now First Interstate) for 35 years.

Matt was active in political activities serving as Flathead County Republican Chairman for 12 years. He was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 1968 and was later elected to the Montana State Senate. He served 24 years in the Legislature. During his Legislative career he served on the Appropriations, Education and Institutions committees. He also served as chairman of Senate and Finance and Claims and Long Range Building Committees. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964.

He was elected chairman of the first Diocesan Council of Western Montana Catholic Diocese. He was active in the founding of the Flathead Valley Community College and taught political science and government after retiring from business.

In 1931, Matt's father's business, the Plevna State Bank, was closed due to the effects of the Depression and crop failures. The state bank examiner took control of the bank's assets. Included in those assets was 320 acres held as collateral on a failed note. Matt, after a series of legal victories over Shell Oil and the State Bank Examiner, acquired control of the land. As part of an oil and gas production unit, he dedicated the mineral royalties to paying all depositors and creditors with interest. In 1976, all debts were paid. The Plevna State Bank is the only bank in the United States that was closed during the Depression to ultimately pay out all depositors and creditors. Victor Himsl's Plevna State Bank went down in history as "the little bank that could," due to the integrity and commitment of Matt Himsl.

Matt was driven by a keen sense of duty, service, integrity and responsibility. He was a man of deep and abiding faith, who loved his God, his wife and his children and their families. He had a passion for Montana, his home in Kalispell, Flathead Lake, St. John's University, oil, Wall Street, sports, reading and politics (especially Republicans).

He generously provided for his family, his church, his alma mater, local and national charities, the Red Cross, and the Republican Party and candidates.

Matt was preceded in death by his parents; a twin sister, Sr. Clarus OSB, sister, Rita Howland; and brothers, Alois and Vedie.

He is survived by his wife, Lois; son and daughter -in-law, Allen and Linda Himsl, all of Kalispell; daughters and sons-in-law, Marilyn and Bernie Olson of Lakeside, Louise and Bob Robinson of Helena, Kathy and Rick Spear of Dalles, Ore., and Judi Choury of Littleton, Colo.; sisters, Lea Jupka of Great Falls and Bernadette Johnson of Worland, Wyo.; 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren also survive him.

Matt will be dearly missed by his family and friends. His family is deeply grateful to longtime caregiver Connie Kenfield.

Mass of the Resurrection was on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007, at St. Matthew's Catholic Church. There will be no visitation. A Rosary service was held on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at Johnson Mortuary. Burial followed services at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery.

The family suggests that any memorial contributions be sent to the American Red Cross, 157 Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901 or to St. Matthew's Church building fund, 601 1st Avenue West, Kalispell, MT 59901 or to the charity of the donor's choice.

Johnson Mortuary & Crematory is caring for Matt's family.

Express condolences at

Published in the Helena Independent Record on 1/4/2007.

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  • Created by: A Marine's Daughter
  • Added: 4 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17300611
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mathias A. “Matt” Himsl (17 Sep 1912–30 Dec 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17300611, citing Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by A Marine's Daughter (contributor 46506165) .