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Tribute To Wolfgang Mattes

Sen. Carl Levin

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Mr. President, today, I honor a son of Michigan, Mr. Wolfgang ``Wolf'' Mattes, a loving husband, dedicated father, caring friend, and stalwart patriot. Mr. Mattes will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday, September 18.

Mr. Mattes is a dedicated public servant who has selflessly served his country, State and community in various capacities for nearly six decades. Known as an honest, warm, and generous man, Mr. Mattes chose a career as a public servant and worked for the city of Detroit for many years, where he retired as the supervising naturalist at the Belle Isle Nature Center. Wolf is a wildlife conservationist at heart and spent countless hours rehabilitating wild animals and protecting their habitat. Additionally, when his country called, he did not hesitate to respond and proudly served in the U.S. Army during the Korean war.

An avid sports fan and athlete, Wolf worked as an usher at Tiger and Olympia Stadiums. At Olympia Stadium, he was the guard for the Red Wing's locker room and bench and was known as ``Wolfie on the bench'' by the players. After Olympia Stadium closed, the Detroit Red Wings brought him with them to Joe Louis Arena, where he worked in the press box.

Mr. Mattes understands the value and importance of community service, and his many efforts have been fittingly honored through his selection as a volunteer and firefighter of the year, Kiwanis volunteer of the year, and Elk volunteer of the year.

On Sunday, we will all look back and see the hallmarks of a life well lived. He is beloved not for a litany of accomplishments, but simply for who he is. Beneath a humble exterior lies a generous and kind soul. His quiet determination, unfailing kindness, and unyielding spirit have made him a pillar not only of a proud and loving family, but of all who have come to know him.

He remains the dedicated husband to his lovely bride Barb, whom he met at Michigan State on a blind date over 52 years ago, and he has been a wonderful father to his adoring daughters Erika Lynn Mattes Rebbe, Heidi Leigh Mattes Mason, Brigitte Beth Mattes Cooper, and Inger Ann Mattes Griffin.

Today, we offer heartfelt congratulations to Wolf as he celebrates his 80th birthday. This is truly a joyous occasion. His unending love of family, friends, and country, as well as his devotion to those who have had the privilege of knowing him serve as inspiration to all.

Happy birthday, Wolf. May you enjoy happiness, good fortune, and good health for many years to come.