Cover photo for Michael James Mattox's Obituary
Michael James Mattox Profile Photo
1942 Michael 2023

Michael James Mattox

April 21, 1942 — May 26, 2023

Michael James Mattox, has passed. Mike’s soul left us on the morning of Friday May 26th at 11:53 am. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Boyd Mitchell Mattox (also known as Ruben) and Howardyne Croswell, he began his life as a Hawaiian island boy in Honolulu. He attended the Kamehameha schools (KAM), a private system, open only to native Hawaiians.


In his teenage years, Mike left his parents and siblings Lindsay, Lindy, and Bobby to join the U.S. Navy as a submariner on a diesel powered boat, but also spent time around some of America’s first nuclear powered submarines and had intimate knowledge of the Skipjack class boats. As the quintessential sailor, Mike traveled the world extensively during his service of his country and wore the badges of his Navy time proudly, which are evidenced by the many tattoos he acquired in his younger days.


He met his first wife Carol in Seattle in the bar that she tended which helped her pay her own way through college. Together, they had a son, the oldest of the Mattox family. Jeff was nearly born in Honolulu like his father, however when Carol went home to Washington State, Jeff would be born there instead.


Mike left the service of the Navy and had a brief stint with the Merchant Marine before obtaining employment in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where he worked closely with Carol’s stepfather Chuck.


After things didn’t work out with Carol, he met and wedded his second wife Bonney in a marriage that proved to be short lived.


Moving to Idaho so that he could be closer to his mother, Mike obtained employment with Aerojet, a contractor at the DOE/INEL site refueling and maintaining nuclear reactors. It was in this time that he met Shawna at the Paris Cafe in Idaho Falls on June 3, 1973, where he asked for some of her tuna sandwich. Between his son Jeff, and her son Shawn they became a ready made family as he began his railroad career. Their daughter April soon followed. 


Mike would the join the Union Pacific brotherhood in 1976 after April was born, and took much pride in his accomplishments as he advanced both in through the ranks of the railroad as a Fireman and Engineer as well as became a prominent member of the United Transportation of Workers Union (UTU). He gave invaluable service to a multitude of individuals throughout his tenure in both organizations.


Ryan, Casey, and Toulon later joined the family during their time in Idaho Falls. Soon thereafter, the family would move to Dillon, Montana where Mike could reliably “hold a turn” and provide a stable family life for his wife and kids. Ultimately after some relocating, the Mattox family would wind up in Pocatello where Mike would finish his railroad career.


Mike enjoyed hunting occasionally, but was more passionate about fishing. Another pastime was regaling others with his “tales of Ike”, one of his rambunctious grandchildren from Ryan and his wife Tina.


While settling down with Shawna in Pocatello, he was re-introduced to God and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mike grew up a Baptist under the care of his mother Howardyne and Stepfather Larry. Faith was instilled in him growing up. Things would change for him over time that would cause him to inquire about his personal relationship with God.


After supporting his son Casey as he served a mission in the church and seeing his wife Shawna desire to go to church as well, Mike decided to figure it out for himself. He would become baptized in April of 1999 at the hands of two Elders, one of them being from Hawaii coincidentally.


With a new heart, Mike would give several years of his time serving in his ward in many capacities from the top all the way down.

Many would characterize Mike as a great helper who made sure everyone was taken care of. Mike fearlessly went to people’s aid at home, at work, at church, and wherever he went. He gave shirts off his back, lifted the spirits of the youth and elderly alike, and fought for the worker at his side. Highly skilled, Mike was old school tough and made sure that everyone felt that they had a place in his life. If it is true that the same spirit that occupies the body in this life will be the same in the next, then there is no doubt that Mike the worker, the husband, the brother, the friend, the father, the grandpa, and the son is gonna get to work when we are done here celebrating his life by preparing the way for us all on the other side in the way only he knows how.


Mike is preceded in death by his first wife, Carol Ann Mattox.


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