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Mark N. Mattison, DVM

April 22, 2022 | 41 comments

Mark N. Mattison, DVM

La Crosse – Mark Mattison passed away unexpectedly at his home on Friday, April 15, 2022, at the age of 70.  He was born in Westbrook, MN on August 31, 1951, to Norris and Marion (Phillips) Mattison.  Mark grew up a Minnesota farm boy, immersed in farm life, yet fascinated by that which surrounded him near and far, be it nature, science, history or the arts.  He was excited by the givings of every season and relished the curiosities that came with each natural evolution. 

Mark graduated from Lamberton High School in 1969, excelling in academics, music and athletics.  He attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, moving on to earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in1976.   In 1988 he received his International Veterinary Acupuncture Society Certification, practicing animal acupuncture locally, while lecturing across the United States and Canada.

He married his high school sweetheart, Wendy Gislason, on June 16, 1973, and together they built 48 years of shared experiences with their two children, cherishing their love of music, theater, art and outdoor adventures.

Mark practiced large and small animal veterinary medicine as a partner at the

La Crosse Veterinary Clinic for 39 years.  As he drove to countryside farms, he was captivated by the winding coulees with their rugged ridges, forested bluffs, and meandering streams.  As a veterinarian, Mark was known for making time to build trusting relationships with his clients, taking genuine interest in providing the best care for each animal, large or small.

Mark was a life long fan of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, building enduring memories with his children and friends as they made their annual trek into the stillness of the wilderness, always greeted with unexpected challenges that fueled the stories of tomorrow.

The performing arts, along with a wealth of creative woodcrafting projects, were a source of inspiration throughout his years.  Mark played various theatrical roles at UW/L Summer Stage, La Crosse Community Theatre, the Pump House and the La Crosse County Historical Society.  But singing filled his soul.  He grew up midst a family tradition of singing harmonious melodies with his father and 6 uncles at family and church events.  In 1982, he and Wendy joined Wilma Scheffner’s upbeat Rivertown Revue and Jazz 4, sharing in song for 26 years.  Most recently, Mark sang with the La Crosse Chamber Chorale, 5th Chamber, and the First Congregational Church Choir.

Mark served on the UW-La Crosse Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and Boards of the Pump House, La Crosse Chamber Chorale, United Fund for the Arts, and First Congregational Church.

Above all, Mark was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend.

Mark is survived by his loving wife, Wendy; his children: Jon (Maria) Mattison and Kelly (Jeremy) Butler; six grandchildren: Noah, Macedonio and Nayeli Mattison and Adelaide, Kaia, and Reese Butler.  He is survived by his 4 sisters, Mary Lynn Ditsch, Joan Reschke, Barbara Lagrue(Paul) and Christine Mattison, along with Wendy’s siblings, Jo Anne Noyes, Jon (Mary) Gislason, and Dave (Candy) Gislason. Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Norris and Marion Mattison, and his brother, John.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, May 14, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2503 Main Street, La Crosse.

The Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.couleecremation.com

Memorials are preferred to the Pump House Regional Center for the Arts,

La Crosse Chamber Chorale, First Congregational Church Choir or a charity of your choice.



  1. mary nelson

    Wendy and Family,
    We are so very sorry to hear about Mark’s death. It is such a sad time when someone so engaged with family, life, and community passes.
    Please accept our condolences.
    Mary and Peter Nelson

  2. Susan Schettle

    My sincere sympathy Wendy, Jon, Kelly and your families. Mark was a true Renaissance man, talented, kind and generous. I am heartsick for you all. May the incredible memories you’ve made together comfort and carry you. Know that Gary and I, like so many, will carry revered memories of Mark as well.

  3. Cheryl Nelson

    My deepest condolences to the Mattison family. I was a client of Dr. Mattison for over 20 years and during that time he cared for many of my animal companions. He was always so kind, caring, and patient with both my pets and myself. He always had time to answer my many questions and helped me become a better pet parent. The world is definitely a little colder and darker place without Dr. Mattison in it.

  4. Sandra Overhouse

    Deepest sympathy for family and friends
    I liked him very much
    Dr Mattison was our family pet Lyndsey Doctor, who liked him so much Lyndsey was so good with him
    I’m so sorry to hear of his passing
    Sandra Overhouse

    • Teresa Brohmer

      My sincere condolences to you, Wendy and your family on the passing of Mark. I worked with you in PT at several nursing homes back in the 80’s and of course brought my cats to see Mark for his tender care. I admired you both watching you on stage many times singing , you were such a wonderful couple.

  5. Sara Sullivan

    Wendy , I am so sorry to hear of Mark s death. I hope that loving remembering brings comfort to you and all who love him. I am holding you and your family close to my heart.

    • Dan Kahler

      I have to speak to you here because I would not be strong enough to tell you in person how much Mark meant to me as he cared for my two shorthairs, Daisy and Irene, my only children in this life. He was always optimistic about their out comes, and safe it to say they had some very major life threatening events. Through it all he gave me hope and comfort and I would never be able to thank him enough no matter how long he and I lived. I am sure they are with him now.

  6. Christy Hinton

    We are so sorry for your loss, Mattison family. This breaks our hearts. Mark was our vet with our first dog and a neighbor that would always have a smile and stop and talk if we were out walking our dogs. Wendy-let us know if you need anything. Christy, Sam, Spencer, & Tyler.

  7. Kay Wimberly

    Veterinary visits for horse owners is often a worrisome time. But Dr. Mattison always arrived with a positive attitude, calmness and a smile.

    He was pleasant in conversation, whether casual or medically informative. Eager to share his knowledge.

    Rest peacefully Dr. Mattison, I’ll always remember your kindness.

  8. Patrick and Karen Dunn

    From horses to dogs Mark was my Vet for 28 years he was one of the few that knew they weren’t pets they were family even the rescues we did he knew they were special just like we knew he was a special a one of kind man we thank the family for sharing such a great man

  9. Ralph and Nancy Bean

    His visits to our place to attend to our horses was always informative, pleasant and he always had a smile. May you rest in peace Mark

  10. Robert & Eileen Collins

    Dr. Mattison was our vet for many years. He always took time and understanding with our dogs. Our condolences to his family.

  11. Sheila Horstman

    My thoughts and prayers to all of Dr. Mattison’s family and friends. He was an amazing veterinarian! He was always so kind, honest, knowledgeable and compassionate. I have not found another to fill his shoes.
    My Deepest Sympathies
    Sheila Horstman

  12. Gordon D. Fowler

    Our community has lost not only a passionate artist, but a wonderful humanitarian of the first degree. Mark reflects the better levels of kindness, generosity, and genuine compassion that are possible among us.

    To Wendy and all family and friends, my deepest and most sincere wishes that we keep in our minds and hearts the loving path of this man’s gracious life.

  13. Al Saterbak and Julia Steinke Saterbak

    We are so sorry to read of Mark’s death. He was a gifted performer whom we were privileged to know in La Crosse Community Theater. We send you our heartfelt sympathy.
    Al and Julia Saterbak, Green Valley, Arizona

  14. Deb Morse and Don Barth

    Mark was our favorite vet for so many years – and for so many cats! It was always a comfort to chat with him and have him provide care to our pets. We send our deepest sympathies to Mark’s family.

  15. Dori (Tonnis$ Billows

    Wendy & family, I am heartbroken to hear of Mark’s passing. He was not only a gifted & compassionate veterinarian, a talented performer & singer, but a kind and generous human being. I often think of you & the kids and the fun times we shared in LaCrosse and through the Congregational Church. My deepest sympathy to you all. I’m sending hugs.

  16. Cindy Hoehne

    My deepest condolences to your family. Mark was our goat and sheep vet for many years, and took the time to teach this city kid how to care for these animals. I have very fond memories of him and his compassion for animals.

    My deepest sympathies

  17. Deb Swanson Schams

    My sincere condolences to the Mattison family. I was three years behind Mark at Lamberton High School and remember his musical talents vividly. Mark and Wendy were a special couple. I was happy to see them both again in a La Crosse when their children had Senior portraits taken. I am so sorry for this tragic loss.

  18. Kathleen Gorman

    I am so sad to hear of Mark’s passing. He was always a delight to work with in the many musicals we both worked on. He was such a kind man and always genuinely interested in other’s lives. La Crosse will miss a great member of the community.

  19. Dawn Kimpel

    Wendy and Family,

    So sorry for your unexpected loss. Mark was such a wonderful guy. There seemed to be no end to his talents. I enjoyed singing with him in La Crosse Chamber Chorale. He was so welcoming and we enjoyed his cookie treats! Take good care of yourself during this difficult time.

    Dawn Kimpel

  20. Jan Fink

    He was a wonderful vet and made the world a better place for all of us, including our pets. I am so sorry for your loss.

  21. Donna Proudfit

    Very shocked to hear of Mark’s passing. He lovingly cared for 3 of my cat children-Billie, Jackson and Winston. His compassion was comforting. May he Rest In Peace.

  22. Bob & Shirley Nygaard

    So many years have passed since we last saw Mark. A wonderful Augsburg friend. We remember his great strength but gentle disposition. Compassionate, caring and intelligent with a beautiful voice. Our deepest sympathies to Wendy and the family.

  23. Kari G

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of this very gentle, compassionate man. He took care of my pets for so many years, especially my 21 year old cat Ernie- I will always remember his kindness and the time he spent during the hardest time of all. This world is better due to his compassionate nature. God bless his family with love and memories-

  24. Debra Boehde

    Shocked to hear of Mark’s passing. He was a special guy who will be missed by many. Sorry to hear of his passing.

  25. Cindy

    Over 30 years ago, Dr. Mattison saved my horse from dying of Potomac Fever. Several of my friends’ horses died. As a teenage girl, I was eternally grateful to Dr. Mark for saving my beloved horse and understanding that animals were much more than pets. I imagine there are hundreds of animals waiting at heaven’s gate for a man who was so caring and invested in his profession.

  26. Brad Dinsmoor

    I am shocked beyond belief. Such a wonderful man! My sincere condolences.

  27. Marian Schiesser

    Wendy and Family,
    Our deepest sympathy on your loss of Mark. Always loved and never forgotten. Life is so fragile and death sometimes comes all too soon. We’re reminded that it’s not on our timeline. May your happy memories sustain you.
    Besides being a great vet, I liked when Mark came into the NW Fifth grade classroom and talked about his career. Everyone wanted to be a vet, until he showed them the end of the cow he spent most of his time with.
    Wendy, thank you for all the time you gave to children working with drama. I will always remember the joy of working with you.
    Marian and Randy Schiesser

    • Kaye Lehrman

      Mark was a rockstar Veterinarian. He loved to teach me things every time I would take a piggie in. Also extremely gentle and kind when euthanasia had to be done. I was lucky enough to sing with him in chamber chorale too. And enjoy his chocolate chip cookies.
      Paw prayers from all of us at the Hyde a Way Piggery.

  28. Terry and Ken Visger

    Our hearts are broken. We first knew Mark through our many dogs. He was always kind, gentle, and so very knowledgeable. Even after his retirement Mark answered our pet questions. We then knew Mark through the Pump House and Silent City. It was always an honor to work with him or to have him and Wendy attend a performance. We will miss his smiles, hugs, and positive attitude. He was a wonderful man. Tell his stories often and he will always be with us.

  29. Rachel Kuhnle

    Thinking and praying for everyone suffering this incredible loss. My heart goes out to you, Wendy!

  30. Debora Emmert

    Kind eyes. Compassionate nature. Intelligence. Positivity. A gifted performer blessed with a voice people wanted to hear again and again.

    To Wendy and Mark’s family: my deepest sympathy, empathy, and prayers during your time of grieving.

    Debora Emmert
    Naples, Florida

  31. Phyllis

    Wendy- The pain in your heart will get less, and go away.

    But the memories will last forever.

  32. Dave Ford & Melinda Knutson

    Our thoughts are with Wendy and the family. Mark was an amazing guy who gave so much to our community both professionally and personally. We will miss him.

  33. Elizabeth Becker

    Dear Mattison family: I have such fond memories of Dr. M. Whether he was gelding our colt in January out in the snow in below zero weather or singing in a choir or playing a character at the ‘Silent City’ event–he always had a smile, a good word or a story to share. I was thinking of him this past weekend when we played Mozart’s Requiem in my hometown. (We also dedicated a wonderful Fazioli piano in honor of a long time choir teacher). I was thinking of Mozart’s brilliant but short life, the power of the community coming together to make music, and especially the role of my hometown in nurturing future leaders. Obviously his hometown did a great job in helping him be the person he was. So I made a donation to the Austin Symphony so they will continue this good work in my former home town. I am thinking of you all and wishing you peace.

  34. Alisa (and Steve) Sokolik

    Dear Mattison Family,
    My first experience with Dr. Mattison was as a late teen, probably soon after he came to La Crosse Vet Clinic. He came to my parents’ house to tend my horse.

    Later, he treated our 4 cats and 5 dogs, until his retirement. I shed tears then, as I shed tears now.

    He was a one-of-a-kind man. Intelligent, yet he didn’t let his intellect elevate him above others. He always took time to patiently and compassionately explain treatments and options. He even choked up when breaking the news our Husky mix had a very aggressive cancer.

    We enjoyed seeing him perform in Pump House and community theater performances.

    The world is a little less today because of his loss. I pray beautiful memories and knowing how much he was loved and esteemed by others will bring you peace.

  35. Suzie Black

    So sorry to hear. Was our vet for as long as I can remember. His compassion for our fur babies and us is unmeasurable. Attended his retirement party and gave him the shiny washers to hang from your bird feeders. Bumping into him different times after,he never forgot and always thanked me. What an incredible guy. My deepest sympathy to you Wendy and your family. Feel my hug.

  36. Pat Marcy

    Mark and I were teammates on the Augsburg wrestling team in the late 60s and early 70s. He was a great training partner, tough as nails, but an even greater person. He was always kind, thoughtful, generous and had a knack for putting others before himself. He was a true gentleman in every respect. Thank you for all the ways you helped me, Mark, you are missed.

  37. Mike Good

    To all of Mark’s family,

    I was so saddened to read about Mark’s passing in an Augsburg publication this week. I had the privilege of wrestling with Mark and then coaching him his last year at Augsburg where he became an MIAC Champion! He and I watched the NCAA Division 3 National Finals together several years ago after decades of never seeing each other…I will always cherish that time together. I am so proud of the man he became…Dr, Husband, Father, Grandfather and community leader in so many ways. He lived a life of SIGNIFICANCE and will be missed by all…but his spirit lives on! God bless you in this time of grieving.
    Mike Good

  38. Paul Gilster

    Dear Mattison Family, I am so sorry to hear of Mark’s passing. I always enjoyed when Mark came out to help with my cows. We always had enjoyable conversations on various subjects.


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