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January 10, 2012
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Iris Matson

Early on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, Iris Staser Matson crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, and entered the Great Hall of her Swedish Ancestors who welcomed her home.

Born on Oct. 23, 1916, in Bishop, Calif., to Henry H. Andersen and Goldie E. Thrailkill, Iris grew up on the Andersen Ranch near Point Arena with her older sister, Fern and younger sister, Beatrice.

Raised by her grandfather and grandmother, she milked cows and fed chickens before walking three miles to a one-room schoolhouse.

After graduating from Point Arena High School, she, and her sister Fern, worked in many different ventures. From raising chickens and selling the eggs, picking peas and huckleberries to running a small laundry, she stayed close to the coast.

After World War II broke out, she married George West. Their daughter, Jackie, was 2 years old before she saw her father. Later, she married Howard Staser and had two sons, Thomas and Steven, and a daughter, Sandra.

In the late 1950s, she started working for Hildred Branson at the H & P Food Store in Nevada City, below Bonanza Market where the Fur Traders is now. She watched the '60s wax and wane from the store window, as did her best friends who worked on Broad Street, Thelma Holloway of the Broadway Beauty Shop and Ralph and Gladys Buchanan of the City Market.

After the store closed, she got her "dream job." She became a nurse's aid at Nevada General, the old County Hospital. There, she became close friends with Harriet Boss and Doris Brown. When that closed, she did in-home nursing around Nevada City.

In 1977, she married Einar Matson, whom she had known 45 years ago in Point Arena. They would drive up the coast to Elk, where she would rock pick for abalone, while Einar would dive for them.

She lived with him in Penngrove, Calif., until he passed away in 1999. She moved back to Nevada City to be closer to her family, and lived with her oldest son.

She loved the Nevada County Food and Toy Run, and was the oldest rider to participate when she was 90 years old. She helped man a checkpoint for the Gold Country Lions Gold Run since its inception, as well as the Paul Orlandi Memorial Benefit Poker Run.

She loved to shop at SPD in Nevada City, so she could see "her boys." She loved to dance, and used to say that she would rather dance than eat. She loved going to Frank's Pizza on Sundays to see the locals that would come in.

She is survived by her younger sister, Bea Acquistapace, of Manchester, Calif., daughters Jackie of Sonoma, and Sandra (Roland Schumacher) of Nevada City; sons Thomas of Nevada City, and Steven (Melonie) of Grass Valley; granddaughters Charmayne (Charles) Fletcher of Spain and Katrina Tinto of Ukiah.

Her husbands, George West, Howard Staser and Einar Matson, predeceased her.

Now, she belongs to the ages.

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The Union Updated Jan 10, 2012 08:09PM Published Jan 10, 2012 08:08PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.