Floyd Matteson

Floyd was born on April 19, 1918 to Benage and Sophia (Forsmo) in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Floyd had four siblings, Mildren, Orvin, Dorothy, and Dale.

When he was a teenager, he enjoyed hunting on the farm outside of Wausau. He attended Hawthorne County School and Wausau High School however, after two years he left to work. It was felt that he made out better working than attending school. He completed a machinist course in addition to working and everyone who ever knew him knew that he always worked.

In 1938, he worked as an apprentice helper at Motor Service, learning how to do automotive work. He built engines, did brake work and ground brake drums. Ed Berandt was the shop foreman and taught him everything he knew about motors. These mechanical skills became became instrumental in his future. After learning these skills, he and George Kopp accepted a job for Paul Minder Construction Company.

On May 12, 1942 Floyd and his friend George went to a job in St. Lucia, British West Indies to build an airstrip for the U.S. government on leased land. They rode the train from Wausau to New York and boarded the Al Koa Cruise Ship on June 12, 1941. After arriving in St. Lucia, they were driven through the mountains and sugar cane fields because there were not many roads. The machine shop they worked in was a roof on sticks; the only purpose for the roof was to keep them out of the sun. They stayed in an old farmhouse until their barracks were built.

He stayed in the British West Indies until October 1942, where he was in charge of maintaining cars and light trucks. After returning home, he returned to work for Motor Service. In January 1943 he returned to the engine and machine shop for the United States Engineering Department in Trinidad, British West Indies.

On July 21, 1943 Floyd and Beatrice’s first son was born. At that time, you could not call or send telegrams, so Beatrice had to write a letter to tell Floyd about the birth of their son. While in Trinidad, the mail came by boat and Floyd found out about their son about one week later. Since they could not buy cigars, he celebrated with rum!

Floyd returned home to spend time with his family before he had to leave for the Army in August 1944. Basic training was at Camp Wheeler, Georgia. After 17 weeks at camp he returned home for a 10 day layover. When it was time to leave and go overseas, he had to take the train to Fort Ord, California to a replacement center. According to Floyd, that three-day ride was the longest he ever encountered. From Fort Ord, he took a ship to Luxon, Philippines to replace soldiers in the battle zone. He was put in as a rifleman in the 1st Infantry, 6th Division and set up in the Lingayan Gulf. They had to go north and went as far as they could by truck, then spent about 10 days walking and trying to rest when they could until they reached the enemy. They had approximately seven weeks of contact with the enemy, which was believed to be Japanese stragglers in the mountains. They tried to hold the top of the mountains, because that is where the food supply was airdropped. The Japanese made off with a lot of the food.

Floyd’s company went in with 167 men plus 11 gorillas; at the end of seven weeks, less than 70 men walked out. Tents were set up so the soldiers could recuperate and reform. He was transferred from Luzon to Tauge, Korea as a regimental motor sergeant. After a few months in Tauge, he received rating of Master Sergeant and went to Ordinance school for a month. Classes were held in an old abandoned truck manufacturing plant. Afterwards, he returned to Tauge where he completed his time of service. In August 1946, Floyd was honorably discharged from Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

During the summer of 1946 Floyd worked at Motor Service in Wausau and one year later they returned to Elderon where Floyd built his first garage (it was located where the current village fire department is located).

In 1950 Floyd sold his business and they purchased a home in Rib Mountain where he delivered fuel to homes throughout Wausau. In 1953 he was called back into service; they sold their home and truck and moved back to Elderon. He later found out that he did not have to return to service, and began working in Green Bay for Chapel and Amundsun Construction Company. During that time, Beatrice remained in Elderon, next door to Otto and Minnie.

In 1954 Floyd returned to Elderon and built another garage and remained in business until his retirement in 1980.

With such a busy life it was time for Floyd and Beatrice to spend time together. They traveled for many years in a motor home, traveling to every state, Mexico, Canada, Prince Edward Island, Cancun, England and Scotland. Once they discovered Branson, Missouri they returned there every year.

Floyd was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and served as Post Commander and Post Quartermaster. While he was commander, Floyd and Beatrice donated land, which is where the VFW Post 8068 clubhouse remains today.

After spending many winters in Mission, Texas and summers in Elderon, Floyd passed away on March 1, 2005 of congestive heart failure.

 

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