Dr. John E. Mathers

July 4, 1931 ~ February 21, 2019 (age 87)


Dr. John Mathers, of Knife River, MN, died on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

He was born on July 4, 1931 to Stephen and Beatrice (Boyle) Mathers in Exeter, Ontario, Canada and grew up in southern Ontario.  John graduated from Western University Medical School, London, Ontario, interned in Edmonton, Alberta, and specialized in OB/GYN at the University of Minnesota. John was employed for several years in Austin, MN then taught in Okinawa, Japan for the University of Hawaii Medical School.  In 1971, he moved to Duluth to serve as Assistant Dean and professor at UMD Medical School and continue in his OB/GYN private practice. 

From the age of seven, John knew that he wanted to be a physician. He took great joy in delivering babies. For close to 5000 people, he was the first human touch they experienced - just before handing them to their mothers. He loved being part of each new life moment.

John had an active faith in the Lord and was previously active at the Evangelical Free Church in Two Harbors and at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Duluth.  He was a member of Rotary and enjoyed serving as a facilitator at RYLA Camp.

He loved reading, card games, theology, playing hockey (into his 60’s), the family cabin on Rainy Lake, wintering in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, and taking cruises.

John was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Marney Wilson (1998), and sister in-law Vicki Vancas (2018).

He is survived by his wife, Mary Frances Vancas; children, John Derek (Debra) Mathers, Donald Stephen (Heidi) Mathers, Douglas Wilson (Lorri) Mathers, and Marney Ruth (William) Crandall; a brother, James Mathers; a sister, Ruth Johns; ten grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and brothers-in-law, Mike, Ivan and Steve (Jeanine) Vancas.

Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road, Burlington, Ontario, Canada. This event will take place in Auditorium B and the Royal Court Garden. Donations in John’s memory may be made to Doctors Without Borders or a charity of your choice.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. John E. Mathers, please visit our floral store.


Family to do services at later date

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