1927 - 1993


Jim Matson was born to Roy and Hazel Matson in Selah, Washington, where he continued to make his home until the time of his death. He attended school in the Selah public schools and later at Whitman College. During World War II, Mr. Matson served with the US Navy.

Mr. Matson was an honored member of the tree fruit industry, serving various roles in industry organizations including the Washington Apple Commission, where he served as chairman in 1987-88. He was part owner in his family’s fruit business, Matson Fruit Company, and operated the family’s orchards.

In 1969 he began his political career as Representative of the 14th District in the Washington State Senate. He served in this post until 1980 when he chose not to seek re-election. In 1988, he ran again and was re-elected Washington State Senator. While serving in Olympia, Mr. Matson was praised by both Republicans and Democrats as a master of bipartisanship and for his negotiation skills. He retired in 1992 due to his health.

Throughout the fruit growing regions of Washington State, Mr. Matson was well known for his love of life, family, and the game of golf. He enjoyed working in his orchard, socializing with the boys over breakfast, a good bottle of wine with his meal, and having his loved ones near him.

Mr. Matson was survived by his wife Patricia Matson of Selah; three sons, Roy Matson, Ross Matson and Les Matson; his brother Richard; a granddaughter, Shelley Matson, a grandson, Taylor Matson; and six stepchildren, Tim McClary, Mary McClary, Kelly McKinney, Gail McClary, Robin McClary and Diane McClary.

At the time of Mr. Matson’s death, friends and family established the Jim Matson Memorial Fund to assist farmworkers and their families pursue educational opportunities.