John Mattila and Daughter Allison

I was just a Junior at Warrenton High School when this new teacher arrived. He was a bit shy, soft spoken and kind. But that did not last long…at least the shy part, he always remained soft spoken and kind. Except on the football field…that is where you saw him in his most intense moments. But even during those times, he remained kind and respectful. That made the players respect him and they played harder to help make him the winningest coach in Warrenton’s history.

Soon after his arrival at Warrenton…he became a student favorite. He became a great teacher, and a legendary football coach, then a girls basketball coach, boya freshaman and JV basketball coach and finally… Vice principle. In all of those positions he remained a humble kind man. He will be sorely missed.


John Warren Mattila, 74, was Born 4/8/47 in Longview Washington to parents Arne John Mattila and Aina Elsie (Heino) Mattila. Mr. Mattila was a 3 sport athlete at Mark Morris High School in Longview, WA, and graduated in 1965. A lifelong fan of all outdoor activities, John was also a boy scout and attended the national jamboree in 1960. He enjoyed all outdoor activities. After high school, John played football at Grays Harbor College, graduating in 1967 and transferring to Western Washington University. There he continued his football career and graduated in 1970. He received the most inspirational player award for football in 1969. John received a masters from Lewis and Clark College and an administration certificate. In 1967 at the age of 19 John organized a slow-pitch softball league of 6 teams in Longview Washington which later became the Longview Softball Association of more than 150 men’s teams. While at Grey’s Harbor he coached 2 years of Powder Puff football at Hoquiam High School. While working on his degrees, John spent summers logging for Reynolds Aluminum and R&W Paper. He accepted his 1st teaching position in 1970 at Tillamook H.S. teaching English and coaching football, wrestling, and baseball. In 1972 he became the head football coach. In 1974 John moved to Warrenton H.S. as the head football coach and taught English, P.E., Health, Drivers Ed, and later became Vice Principal. He coached 23 years of freshman/JV boys basketball and 15 years as the head girls basketball coach. He retired after 42 years of coaching as a member of the elite top 10 list of all time football wins and in the top 25 of all time basketball career wins. Beyond his retirement from high school sports, Coach Mattila continued to coach youth football and basketball which culminated into 50 years of a coaching legacy. All John wanted to be was a coach and was honored to be called “coach”. John and Mary Ann (Bechtolt) Mattila have been together for 40 years full of memories and joy. They have one daughter, Dr. Allison Marie Mattila-Gascoigne of which he was extremely proud. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, John Alfred and Josephine Mattila and Henry (Wano) and Ina Heino which all emigrated from Finland, his father Arne John Mattila, his mother Aina Elsie (Heino) Mattila, who built a family out of a tragedy, and beloved Aunt Olga Louise (Heino) Karnofski who continued the legacy of her sister. He is survived by his wife Mary Ann, daughter Allison, son-in-law Paul, three “brothers”, Mike, Henry, and Roger Karnofski, a lifelong friend Marv Olsen, and the many friends, family, and students whose lives that he touched. John felt how fortunate it was that all members of the family have been so successful, remained close and could rely on each other. An open, public viewing will be held at Hughes Ransom Mortuary on Thursday, April 29th from 3-6 pm. The date for an upcoming celebration of life is still being determined.

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