Goodland, Kansas resident Claude J. Schmatjen, 83, died Sunday, January 25, 2015, in Goodland at Good Samaritan Society—Sherman County. He had formerly lived at Pampa, Texas, and in Cheyenne Wells and Burlington, Colorado.
Claude John Schmatjen was born January 21, 1932, at Bloom, Kansas, the son of Marjorie Ellen (Winkelman) and Walter Otto Schmatjen. His family purchased land north of Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, where Claude spent his early years helping out on the farm and attending school. He graduated from Cheyenne Wells High School with the class of 1950, and served his county in the United States Air Force from December 7, 1950 through September 21, 1954. Claude was baptized March 29, 1955, at Grace Lutheran Church.
Claude married Martha Josephine Rose on July 15, 1952, at Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, and their first child Sheryl Lee was born while he was stationed in Iowa. After completing his military service, he returned to Cheyenne Wells, where he owned and operated Schmatjen Trucking Company, moving livestock throughout Colorado and the surrounding states. During this time three more children joined the family: Steven Lynn, Sandra Lou, and Stacey Luann. Later, Claude drove for Yellow Freight, from Goodland to Denver.
His memberships included the Lutheran Church, Masonic Lodge, and American Legion.
Preceding him in death were his daughter Stacey; his parents; three brothers James, Wendell, and Marvin; three brothers-in-law James Pelton, Bud Clevenger, and Merle Cragg.
Claude leaves behind three children Sheryl Schmatjen, Steven Schmatjen, Sandra Schmatjen; daughter-in-law Susan Schmatjen; six grandchildren Christopher Coffin, Shawn Coffin, Travis Schmatjen, Andrea Schmatjen, Michael Schmatjen, and Deric Schmatjen; three great-grandchildren; three sisters Bernadean Gebow and her husband Cliff; Shirley Pelton and her husband Ed May; Anna Mae Cragg; many nieces and nephews, along with numerous friends, with many colorful stories to re-tell.
The funeral will be Friday, January 30, at 1:00 PM MT, at the United Methodist Church in Cheyenne Wells, with burial following in the Fairview Cemetery in Cheyenne Wells.
Friends may share their respects at Koons Chapel in Goodland on Thursday, January 29, from 6:00 until 8:00 PM MT, and before the service on Friday, one hour prior to the service.
Memorials may be designated to Good Samaritan Society—Sherman County, and may be left at the services or mailed to Koons Funeral Home, 211 N. Main, Goodland, KS 67735-1555.
Online condolences: www.koonsfuneralhome.com