Mathes, John 1/3/1931 - 6/5/2021 On the morning of Saturday, June 5, 2021, John Charles "JC" Mathes died peacefully at age 90 of old age at Gilbert Residence in Ypsilanti where he had been in the care of an attentive and caring staff. JC was born to John C. Mathes and Cletus Fagan on January 3, 1931 in Toledo. JC was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary, two adopted sons, John and George; his parents, and aunt, Marietta Mathes. He is survived by his brother, James B. and wife Marica P. of Houston, Texas; by Barbara Mathes of Dallas, Texas (James' first wife and mother of JC's nephew, Marc C. of Coeur d"Alene, Idaho and niece, Nicola D. Schemmel of Atlanta, Georgia.) In 1949 JC graduated from Midland High School in Michigan where his dad worked in magnesium sales for The Dow Chemical Company. JC entered the University of Michigan that fall where he would earn three degrees including a doctorate in French Literature. His studies were interrupted only by two years of service in the US Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he edited training manuals. After teaching for two years at San Diego State University, JC returned to the UM as an assistant professor of English in the humanities department of the College of Engineering. He would retire 33 years later in 1996 as professor emeritus of Technical Communication having transformed his academic career and having helped to create a new department in the process. He was an innovator who developed integrative models for technical report writing across many engineering disciplines. JC, with colleague Dwight Stevenson, were acknowledged experts in the field and their 1976 textbook, "Designing Technical Reports – Writing for Audiences in Organizations," remains a comprehensive classic to this day. JC had a rich and varied career at the UM that sent him all over the world. In 1985, he spent several months in Gambia as a consultant for USAID preparing a report on the Gambia River Basin. The following year, he researched the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown from the perspective of organizational communications. He also spent more than 20 years traveling throughout Japan lecturing to university students and business professionals alike. Along with Professor Stevenson, he established a summer program in Ann Arbor for Wasada University (Tokyo) graduate students and developed the Technical English Proficiency Test (TEP) that was administered bi-annually in Japan. JC and his wife Rosemary were adventurous travelers, visiting Europe often, once via a freighter with faulty stabilizers. Somehow, their sabbatical years would always culminate in Provence, where JC easily gravitated to life among the vines. There, he made deep and lasting friendships with local growers of the Cotes du Rhone. Those bonds ultimately led to the creation of a wine import company, J et R Selections. What began as a passion project developed into a serious concern. JC approached the business like an academician, specializing in just one wine region. His singular vision caught the attention of noted wine writer Robert Parker who called J et R's portfolio of 25 estates "The most extensive collection of Rhone Valley wines in the US." At the height of the business, J et R imported eight containers a year and sold their wines in seven states. JC's many other interests included collecting French art and antiques. He was a devoted Michigan Football and Hockey fan, followed the Detroit Tigers, and religiously watched professional golf on TV every weekend. He and Rosemary were also active in local Democratic politics in the1960s and early '70s. JC will be fondly remembered for his boundless energy and self-effacing manner, and for the generosity with which he shared his love of French wine and culture with his many friends and family.
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Published by Ann Arbor News from Jun. 9 to Jun. 13, 2021.