Cover photo for J.  Stanley  Mattson 's Obituary
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1937 J. 2024

J. Stanley Mattson

May 23, 1937 — January 9, 2024

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here! This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it til now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this…Come further up! Come further in!” - C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle


John Stanley (Stan) Mattson went to be with his Heavenly Father on January 9, 2024. He was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1937 to Thomas and Agnes Mattson. Stan was the middle of five children. Stan’s young life was marked by creative leadership in a series of daring and often mischievous adventures, but his greatest adventure began when he gave his life to Christ as a teenager. Stan had a gift for friendship, and it would take a library to tell the full tales of all whose lives have been blessed through his encouragement and counsel.


Exhorted by his teachers to become an educator, Stan pursued an academic career receiving degrees in Education and History enroute to a Ph.D. in American Social and Intellectual History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His doctoral work centered on Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, American revivalism, and the theology of Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney. Along the way, with an assist from Billy Graham and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, he met and quickly fell in love with Jean and they married on September 30, 1961.


Stan served on the faculties of North Carolina State University and Gordon College, before moving to Connecticut to start a truck stop with his brother George. Returning to academia, Stan became Headmaster at The Master’s School, a Christian K-12 school his brother Ralph started in West Simsbury, Connecticut. Some years later he moved his family to California, accepting a position at the University of Redlands. Having become deeply concerned by the nihilistic secularism overtaking the culture, Stan began praying with Dallas Willard, Grady Spires, and others about what might be done to restore the Christian voice within the world of ideas, the arts, and culture at large. All agreed C.S. Lewis best exemplified how a Christian ought to engage the postmodern world without being of it. Inspired by Lewis’ life and legacy, he founded the C.S. Lewis Foundation in 1986, launching an extraordinary adventure.


Stan greatly enjoyed downhill skiing and was on the Oswego State Ski Team while in college. He also took great pride in being Norwegian and this led him to his love for the sea and sailing. In his mid-30s Stan owned a 31-foot ketch, the Wayfarer. Other boats followed but none compared. He was passionate about traveling with Jean, visiting family on the East Coast and Norway, and story-telling.


Stan leaves behind his beloved wife of 62 years, Jean. He is also survived by his sister Carol Imperato and husband Andy; son Todd Mattson and his wife Amie; and daughter Elizabeth Smith and fiancé Matt Branstetter. He dearly loved his six grandchildren: Trevor, Tyler, Thomas, and Marissa Mattson, Kaden and Kamryn Smith, and Archer Mattson his great grandson. The Mattson family is thankful for the support, care, compassion, and many kindnesses Stan received from friends, doctors, nurses and care-givers.


"At the end, it is clear that love is the grand theme of creation and the Kingdom of God" -Ralph Mattson.


A memorial service celebrating Stan’s life will be held at the Trinity Evangelical Free Church of Redlands, CA on Saturday, March 9th at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to C.S. Lewis Foundation; Covenant Presbyterian Church; Trinity Evangelical Free Church; or Sanctuary Church.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

Trinity EV Free Church Worship Center

1551 Reservoir Road, Redlands, CA 92374

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