Brenda Matsen

Brenda Rae Matsen, 61, died peacefully surrounded by family on Dec. 23, 2017, at Banner University Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz.

Brenda was born Feb. 10, 1956, in Storm Lake.

Brenda was best known for being “Mother of the Year,” each and every year, declared by her daughters. It was a title she coveted—only second to the title of Grandmother. She enjoyed shopping trips with her girls, sleepovers with her grandkids and her retirement views of the San Tan Mountains. Her passions included baking, reading and cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones with her husband, Jess. She was best described as loving, generous and courageous.

For the past 30 years, Brenda was super-human in fighting illness including cancer, heart disease and pulmonary fibrosis. She fought each battle with strength and bravery, while often being known as a miracle patient. She was famous for defying the odds.

Brenda spent her working years with Land O’Lakes, Fort Dodge Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim. Her last role was spent working in research and development, specializing in regulatory affairs. She was a graduate of Buena Vista University with a degree in business and entrepreneurship. In addition to her work, she was a previous board member of the American Cancer Society and Fort Dodge Community School Foundation.

Brenda is survived by her husband of 39 years, Jess; her two daughters, Jennifer (Chad) Curtis of Arlington Heights, Ill. and Ashley (C.J.) O’Brion of Chandler, Ariz.; her grandchildren: Spencer and Lauren Curtis and Taylor and Avery O’Brion. She also leaves behind her parents, Wilbert and Lila Schwanz; brother, Brian (Colleen) Schwanz; and sister Rhonda (Tony) Coombs, all of Alta.

There will be a celebration of life for family and friends in Arizona on Feb.10, as well as in Iowa at a later date. Memorials may be sent to the Matsen Family at 31997 N. Larkspur Drive, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143.