With ties to Downers Grove, McHenry, former Chicago city attorney under Mayor Richard J. Daley dies at 87

Mathias Mattern kept a summer home in McHenry and helped create the franchise structure for Aurelio’s Pizza

Mathias Michael “Mickey” Mattern is being remembered by family and friends for his generosity and dedicated work ethic in the U.S. military, as an attorney and in the pizza restaurant business.

“My dad lived a full, full life,” said daughter Angela Mattern of Naperville.

Mattern died May 2. He was 87.

According to his daughter, her father had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but ultimately succumbed to complications related to COVID-19.

Mattern notably worked for the city of Chicago as assistant corporation counsel for public utilities from 1962 to 1972. Under the direction of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Mattern was involved a cases to end the cash-for-transport practice by hospital ambulances and forcing railroad companies to illuminate viaducts.

Along with his work for Chicago, Mattern practiced law for more than 55 years -- most of it in private practice from his South Side office on 111th Street. He also served on the board of the former Alsip Bank and Trust.

Prior to obtaining his law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1962, Mattern served as at 1st Lieutenant in the First Marine Air Wing in Iwakuni, Japan from 1955 to 1957. He also was an active reservist through 1961.

Mattern obtained an engineering degree from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1955 and was a 1951 graduate of Leo High School in Chicago.

He married Lois Ann Aurelio in 1958, and they raised six children. Starting out in Hometown, the family then relocated to Hinsdale before ultimately settling in Naperville in the 1980s.

“He raised six kids and he worked six days a week at his law practice to do it,” said son, Mathias “Matt” Mattern of Michigan City, Indiana. “He put all of his kids through private high schools -- he sacrificed a lot to do that.”

As a lover of golf, the Matterns made their family home near of the 17th hole of Cress Creek Country Club in Naperville. The Matterns also owned a summer home in McHenry.

“He almost moved his practice of law to McHenry because he loved it up there,” Angela Mattern said. “But his family and work was on the South Side of Chicago and the western suburbs.”

Mattern also was a founding parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville.

“I remember going to Mass in a high school gymnasium for a while,” Angela Mattern said. “My dad worked with Father Jim Curtin, and I know he was one of the members who took out a mortgage and committed to the church to pay it as his part in building St. Thomas.”

Mattern was a corporate attorney for Joe Aurelio (his wife’s cousin), and was vital in helping to create the franchise structure for Aurelio’s Pizza starting in the 1970s. Mattern himself also owned and opened locations in Oakbrook Terrace (later Villa Park) and Downers Grove, while assuming ownership of the Palos Heights location for a time.

“He knew the business inside and out,” said Matt Mattern, who managed the former Oakbrook Terrace location for many years. “He did it with the precision of an ex-Marine.”

According to Matt Mattern, his father was always giving to different causes. He would also team up with family to donate pizzas to suburban festivals ranging from Taste of Lombard to Misericordia Family Festival.

Mattern was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, in August 2020.

Angela Mattern said memorial and funeral services were delayed to allow family members to travel from overseas.

Memorial visitation is from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Homes & Crematory, 516 S. Washington St., Naperville. Funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 2, at St. Thomas the Apostle, 1500 Brookdale Road, Naperville. Memorial contributions may be sent to the charity Opportunity Knocks at, 8020 Madison St., River Forest, IL 60305, or online at tiny.one/opportunityknocks.