Sept. 11, 1952-June 17, 2012
Longtime resident of Aptos
Bruce Mathias died June 17 of a heart attack near his family's cabin in the Wilsonia area of Kings Canyon-Sequoia National Park. He was 59.
Born in Oakland September 11, 1952, Bruce grew up in Tulare, where his father was a family doctor. He was named after the middle name of his uncle, legendary Olympic gold medalist and later US Congressman Bob Mathias.
Bruce developed a lifelong love for fish, animals, nature, and the mountains in the many summers he spent at his uncle Bob's summer camp in the Sierras, first as a camper, then a counselor, and eventually as head wrangler in its horse riding program. An interest in fish farming (aquaculture) led him from Stanford to California State University, Fresno. After graduating as a fisheries biology major there in the mid-1970s, he joined the Peace Corps to teach fish farming in the Central African Republic.
He always loved to fish, but in the past few years he developed new kind of interest in fish: as art. He taught himself to make "nature prints": using an actual fish - or crab or dragonfly or lizard or flower - lightly coated with paint to create meticulously detailed artworks on paper. He spent countless hours perfecting each one.
He married fellow Fresno State student Wendy Danno in 1979, the year he moved permanently to Aptos. The Loma Prieta earthquake a decade later changed his life by destroying his home. He built his family a new home from the ground up, and then put those building skills to work as a licensed contractor in the Aptos area for the rest of his life.
Bruce loved his son Brian with all his heart and was immensely proud of Brian's recent achievement of passing the California Bar Examination on the first try.
He leaves his wife Wendy Mathias of Aptos; son Brian Mathias, a Santa Cruz attorney; mother Priscilla of Visalia; sister Dena Korenwinder of Tulare; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Laura and John Boykin of Belmont; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. His father, Dr. Eugene Mathias, sister Jana, and father-in-law and mother-in-law Vincent and Ann Danno predeceased him.
Bruce was a generous, sweet, and gentle soul always ready with a joke, a provocative view, a kind word, or a hug. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends who deeply grieve his loss. A celebration of his life is planned for July 15th at 2pm at Seascape Golf Club, 610 Clubhouse Drive, Aptos.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke by making a donation in Bruce's name to the
, P.O. Box 742030, Los Angeles, CA 90074-2030.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 3, 2012