William "Bill" G. Mattox
October 3, 1930 - March 7, 2020
Bill Mattox, 89, a retired arctic geographer and bird of prey naturalist of Meridian, Idaho, died on March 7, 2020 of natural causes. He wrote this obituary to save his family, the trouble of doing so. In addition, he wanted to get it right.
Born Oct. 3, 1930, Phila. PA, attended Cheltenham HS in Elkins Park, PA. Dartmouth College (AB) 1948-52; Teaching Fellow at Dartmouth 1952-53; American Summer School, University of Oslo, Norway, 1953; Uppsala University, Sweden, 1953-54; University of Iceland 1954-55. Served in US Army 1956-58 in Stuttgart, Germany where I met and in May 1957 married Joan (Burkland) of Bothell, Washington, who was working as a secretary in the Foreign Service at our Consulate General. Our respective tours ended within a month in early 1958. We drove overland to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), where we arrived in June 1958 by way of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and India. We flew to Hong Kong and then sailed by freighter to Vancouver BC, then to Seattle. After meeting Joan's family in Seattle and Calfiornia, we drove in Joan's VW Bug, east to my home and then on to grad school at McGill University, Montreal.
After several field seasons in Ellesmere Island and West Greenland, I took over as Assistant Professor of Geography and Director of McGill's Subarctic Research Laboratory at Schefferville, Quebec. My term as Lab Director ended autumn 1963; Joan continued her position as Principal of the Protestant school. Son John Taylor was born July 1964 amid snow flurries in Schefferville.
I accepted appointment as a Fellow of the Institute for Current World Affairs, ICWA (New York), which took us to Copenhagen, Denmark for four years. My main areas of research had me travel to Newfoundland, West and East Greenland, north Norway, Spitsbergen, and USSR, with main emphasis on the native fishing industry of West Greenland. Second son Timothy joined the family in February 1966.
In 1968 we sailed back to USA, settled in Canaan, NH where I completed my PhD dissertation for McGill in February 1971. We added third son Daniel in November 1969. In June 1972 we moved to Worthington, Ohio. I worked in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Office of Planning and Research 1975- 1992 as Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief, Division of Water. Retired May 1992.
In June 1972 I established the Greenland Peregrine Falcon Survey, leading teams to West Greenland each summer until 1998 for the purpose of locating nest cliffs of this endangered falcon, banding young, trapping and banding adults, placing satellite and regular micro-radio tags, collecting falcon eggshells and prey samples, and monitoring other related field activities.
With wife Joan, established Greenfalk Consultants in 1990 to carry out part of a 6-year field project for the Idaho Army National Guard in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area (sw Idaho) to determine the effects of training operations on nesting raptors. Worked with Idaho Reps and Senators to add the name of Morley Nelson to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. In 1994, with Joan, incorporated the not-for-profit Conservation Research Foundation to carry out various studies of raptors in sw Idaho.
Since 1998, with field research partner James McKinley, collected field data on migrant raptors wintering in sw Idaho; banded many adult and young Swainson's Hawks and Barn Owls; monitored their nests for over 14 years to record turnover, individual migration, and longevity. I continued to work up and publish Greenland peregrine falcon data with my colleagues, as well as results of the various raptor studies in sw Idaho.
Became a permanent Idaho resident in 1998; lived in sw Boise until July 2015, when Joan and I moved to Touchmark at Meadow Lake Village in Meridian where we enjoyed many new friends and a wonderful, new retirement life style.
I recently researched and wrote the story of my great-grandfather, Captain John Taylor, who enlisted in Company E (Scotch Rifles) a month after the Civil War broke out.
I regretfully leave my wife, Joan, our three sons and their families, all of who brought such joy and happiness to me. I also leave my sister Joan (Mattox) Haywood of Massachusetts and her family. My parents William Gurney Mattox and Helen Taylor Mattox pre-deceased me. WGM, February 2019
A celebration of Bill's life will take place at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to The Archives of Falconry at The Peregrine Fund or to a charity of your choice
. Heartfelt thanks to Keystone Hospice and the many caregivers for making Bill's last days as comfortable as possible.