Matheson was 71 years old and an icon in the Coeur D’Alene native community. According to the Coeur D’Alene Tribe, Matheson was a "Mover and shaker of incalculable proportions."
"He always told great stories, he was so articulate. I know that he always presented this vision of our ancestors in that we’re here for a purpose, and I truly believe he served his purpose," said Laura Penney, the CEO of Coeur D'Alene Casino and a Coeur D'Alene Tribe member.
Penney has served as the CEO of Coeur D’Alene Resort and Casino for the past three years. She say she wouldn’t be where she is today without Matheson.
“He’s been a long time mentor of mine, always encouraging me to do well and to have a dream and follow that dream," Penney said.
Penney says as the casino’s first CEO, Matheson hired over 90 new workers, even when the reservation was seeing high unemployment rates. Over his career, Matheson also served as a special assistant in the US department of interior and head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
But, his friends most remember him as a passionate soul with a kind and warm heart.
"Dave Matheson is actually the reason I came to work here. I went to school down at the University of Idaho and Dave came to speak in one of my business classes and he spoke so eloquently and so passionately about working at the casino," said Yvette Mett, a Coeur D'Alene Tribe member.
Matheson returned on the tribal council in 2018 where he continued to serve his community through various charity events.
"Not only is it a huge loss to myself, but to my family, to Dave’s family," said Mett. "I think the tribe will never be the same without Dave.”
A public memorial service is planned for Matheson at the Coeur’s Center in Worley on Saturday at 10 a.m.
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