William G. "Bill" Mattox
1930 - 2020
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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.

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Published in Idaho Statesman on Mar. 25, 2020.
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6 entries
April 4, 2020
Curiosity, investigation, and exploration formed a basis for many of Bill Mattoxs pursuits. Fortunately, he enjoyed pursuing and sharing his broad interests with others. With dozens and dozens of us, from all points of the compass, he provided and facilitated experiences that enriched our lives, educated us, and led to enduring comradery. With gratitude.
Mark and Dana Fuller
April 3, 2020
Bill was a mentor to 100s of raptor conservationists and I was privileged to spend several summers in Greenland with him and his team. His was the highest standard by which I measured all others against.
His guidance will always be missed.
Dr Bill Satterfield
April 1, 2020
Bill was our leader, and expertly led decades of challenging field work in Greenland and kept members of the Greenland Peregrine Falcon Survey together to the end. His is a powerful example of a life well lived, and he inspired all who had the good fortune to work with him. He is missed but much loved, and we are all better for having known him.
Robert Meese
April 1, 2020
Bill at Assateague Island, MD with a peregrine falcon
A mentor and example to me of everything a man could be, Bill was my cherished friend of four decades. Fourteen summers in Greenland with him were long ago and too few, but we continued to make new memories afield and at home. The privilege was all mine, and I shall miss him forever. Herring and Akvavit all around...skaal, my friend!
Mike Yates
March 29, 2020
I will miss our coffee shop discussions and stories. He was a courageous advocate and scholar for raptor conservation who initiated major raptor projects in Greenland, and in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation and locally studied wintering raptors of the Treasure Valley and western Idaho. He was a man of integrity and wisdom. We will miss his presence at The Falconry Archives and The Peregrine Fund facilities.
Rich Howard
March 25, 2020
It was a pleasure to meet him. Roxanne
Roxanne Beach
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