Jim Mathiesen was shot and killed one week ago by a parolee while trying to help a friend in a domestic violence situation. The death marked more than 100 years since the Marin County Sheriff's Office had lost a member of their law enforcement agency.
Mathiesen was a former construction worker who loved law enforcement and joined the department at 40 years old. Friends describe him as someone who could never say no to lending a helping hand.
"Off duty, Jim would stop, even in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt, to change a tire or for anyone else who needed help<" Sgt. Hugh Baker said. "He was the consummate community server all the time."
That helpful nature led to his death. Mathiesen went to help a family friend whose daughter had been dating 28-year-old Thomas Halloran, a parolee who had been making threats. Halloran shot Mathiesen dead in front of the girl's home.
The girl's brother later shot Halloran in the head, fatally wounding him.
Mathiesen was not on-duty at the time, but the department hopes that status may change, at least in terms of family benefits.
"There are those who make these decisions," said Lt. Barry Heying. "I do not know how they will decide in this matter."
At Friday's memorial, family and friends painted a verbal portrait of a man who loved people and received it in return.
"I knew Jim for 25 years," said Mathiesen's brother-in-law Lt. Doug Fletcher. "(I) wanted to call him my best friend, but he made everyone feel that way. He was inclusive."
Mathiesen was 49 years old at the time of his death. He leaves behind a wife and two adult sons.