Matthew Hermanson enjoyed building things.
“He had a lot of practice around our house; we’ve lived here for 25 years and we’ve been remodeling the whole time,” said his mother, Sandy Hermanson.
Hermanson took electrical and shop classes in school and helped build a garage with his high school classmates. After graduation, he worked at a crane boom construction company. But he decided he needed to do something different, figuring he didn’t want to build crane booms the rest of his life. So he joined the Army.
He previously spent 14 months in Iraq, where mail arrived much quicker than in Afghanistan. His mother sent him two pies that made the trip to Iraq within 10 days. Hermanson told his mom the apple pie was delicious but the pumpkin pie didn’t survive the long journey.
Hermanson played on his high school tennis team and liked to golf. He loved reading military history and enjoyed history classes.
The last time Sandy Hermanson spoke to her son was on Easter Sunday, when he was able to communicate via Skype. The whole family was visiting, so Hermanson got to see his brothers, nieces and nephews. Because of background noise on his end, he couldn’t hear his family but could type out his greetings.
He was killed a few weeks before his first wedding anniversary and was due to come home on leave from Afghanistan shortly before Memorial Day.
HERMANSON, SSG MATTHEW DANIEL
SSG Matthew Daniel Hermanson passed away on Thursday April 28th, 2011 while proudly serving his country in Afghanistan.
Matthew was born in Appleton on May 27, 1988 to Jeff and Sandy (Carew) Hermanson, and his big brothers Josh and Nathan. He graduated from Appleton North High School in 2006. On May 8th, 2010 he married the love of his life Rachel Younger of Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Prior to serving in the U.S. Army, Matt worked for the Post Crescent as a carrier, at the VFW Club bussing tables, at Copps Food Store doing numerous different things, and with Azco, Inc. building crane booms. He joined the U.S. Army in March of 2007 and after basic training served with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Polk, Louisiana. He earned numerous medals and honors including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant on the day he died. He loved serving his country and was proud to serve with the men that were part of his unit. He made many lifelong friends in the U. S. Army. He had extended his tour of duty to be with his guys through their year deployment, so then they would all come home together.
Matthew truly enjoyed the outdoors, fishing and hunting with his Dad and his brothers at the family’s land up north. He would build and then tend the best campfires. He also enjoyed tearing things down and putting them back up again, also known as home remodeling. He enjoyed spending time at Berry Lake, with his family and friends, water skiing, knee boarding and tubing. The family tradition of finding the tallest Christmas tree in the forest and cutting it down and trying to get it in the house to decorate was something he looked forward to every year. He loved spending time with his friends Matt Winarski, Ian Wilson, Brandon Neuber, and Andy Ballard, and many more, riding around in their cars, playing video games or whatever crazy things they would come up with. Matt also enjoyed golfing. He was Grandma Karen and Grandpa Dan’s special golfing partner. Matt was a good joke teller and storyteller. He would keep his audiences’ full and rapt attention, only to have the ending of the story or joke to be very lame. Then he would laugh at us and with us for being so caught up in what he was telling us. Matthew’s greatest love was Rachel, but his truck surely came in second. He called it the ‘Silver Back’ after the big black gorillas. He was so proud of having it and being able to fix it up the way he wanted it. Matthew was one of the gentlest, most fun loving souls you would ever want to meet and his smile would light up a room.
Matthew is survived by his wife Rachel, his parents Jeff and Sandy, and his brothers and sisters- in- law: Josh (Kathryn) Hermanson, Appleton and Nathan (Audra) Hermanson, Marinette. He was a wonderful uncle to his nieces Hailey, Annabelle, Alea, and Maisy, and to his nephew and godson Tyler.
Matthew is also survived by his maternal grandparents: Daniel and Ruth Carew and paternal grandmother Karen (special friend Harland Carl) Hermanson all of Appleton. He will be greatly missed by his aunts: Sue (Bruce) Buchanan and Barb (Justin) Tobias; his uncles: Steve (Deb) Carew and Bruce (Bonnie) Carew and his cousins, especially Dustin Buchanan, and numerous great aunts and uncles. He is further survived by his in-laws, Rev. Donald and Gladys Younger and Rachel’s sister Daisy Younger, all of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Along with special family friends, and his godparents, Steve and Cathy Verhagen of Greenville.
Matthew was preceded in death by his grandfather Richard Hermanson and his great grandma Rose Wharton.
The funeral service for SSG Matthew Hermanson will be held at 4:00 pm on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at CHRIST THE ROCK COMMUNITY CHURCH, W6254 Highway10-114, Menasha. Rev. David Vande Hey and Fr. Jim Leary, OFM. CAP. will be officiating. The visitation will be held at the church from 11:00 am until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established.
The Hermanson family would once again like to express our deepest thanks for the out pouring of love and expressions of sympathy that we have received, and also to the US Army for all of their help and comfort during this difficult time. We all knew how special, amazing, brave and courageous he was, and it warms our hearts to know that he touched a lot of people’s lives, whether they had met him or not. The best way to honor Matthew is to never forget about our Military and all the soldiers still fighting for us, so that we all have the option to live our lives any way we want.