October 6, 1929 October 18, 2012
George was born in Santa Cruz, Calif. on October 6, 1929. The older of two children, he was born to George Frank Mattos Sr. and Ada Metzler Mattos. Eight of George's pre-teen years were spent on his grandparent's fruit ranch (prunes and apricots) near San Jose in the Santa Clara Valley with his mother and brother, Rick. It was during this time he realized his love for nature, and spent much of his life in it!
George attended Pacific Grove High School where he fell in love with music and became an outstanding pole-vaulter. In 1947, as a senior, he took first in the pole vault event at the California State Track & Field Meet. As a result, he earned an athletic scholarship to San Jose State University and became an All-American pole-vaulter. For ten years he was ranked as one of the top ten pole-vaulters in the world.
He graduated with a bachelor's degree in music, later receiving his master's in music from Chico State University. George then served his country from 1952 to 1956, when he joined the United States Air Force. During this time, he continued to develop his skills in both music and pole vaulting, eventually earning a place on not one but two, United States Olympic Teams. He represented his country in Helsinki, Finland in 1952, and again in 1956, in Melbourne, Australia.
He met his first wife, Ginger Schroeder, at San Jose State University. They were married in 1953 in San Carlos, Calif. They raised their five children in Mt. Shasta, Calif. George began his music teaching career in 1956, teaching at the elementary and high school in Weed, Calif. In 1960, he began his tenure at the newly opened College of the Siskiyous. George was responsible for starting the music department and structured the program so that music majors could meet the requirements for their first two years of university work. One of George's great memories was that he was able to introduce music to thousands of students. During this time he became an avid tennis player and downhill skier. After retiring from the college in 1989, he moved to the Rogue Valley and continued to actively participate in these two sports, as well as square and round dancing.
George married Lorraine Herbertson in 1991, in Kihei, Maui. They traveled extensively around the world and in the United States, attending many World Track & Field championships.
George played in many music groups during his lifetime, including big bands, jazz combos, Dixieland, and concert bands. He played clarinet and saxophone, and was the leader of the popular Dixie Fat Cats Dixieland Band, which played atn the Medford Jazz Festival for ten years.
George was honored for his lifetime achievements by being inducted into the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, the National Pole Vault Hall of Fame in 2010, and, in the spring of 2012, he was designated as an emeritus faculty for his outstanding contribution to College of the Siskiyous.
George is survived by his wife, Lorraine; his brother, Rick (Kay); his first wife, Ginger; and five children, Diana Gilley (Tom), of Medford, Ore., Rob Mattos (Charlene), of Menlo Park, Calif., Dave Mattos (Linda Marie), of Haiku, Maui, Karen Kozak, of Phoenix, Ariz. and Linda Carol Mattos, of Seattle, Wash. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Erik, Kari, Jake, and Nick; and two great-grandchildren, Lucas and Pierce.
George was a gifted athlete, great musician and teacher, and a warm and caring, loving person. He will be truly missed by all who knew him.
Donations may be made to the COS Foundation for the George Mattos Music Scholarship, College of the Siskiyous, 800 College Ave., Weed, CA 96094. Two memorial services are planned: Sunday, October 28, 2012, 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m at the Rogue Valley Square Dance Center, 3377 Table Rock Road, Central Point, Oregon, and Saturday, November 10, 2012, 2:00, Mt. Shasta, Calif., location and time TBA.
Arrangements under the direction of LitwillerSimonsen Funeral Home, Ashland, Oregon.