John Lawrence Mataya, son of coal miner Lovre (Lawrence) Mataya and Pauline Mataya, was born in Herrin, IL on March 4, 1927 and died on August 1, 2022. He was married for 36 years to Grace Weigold, who preceded him in death in 1998. His companion of 24 years, Jeanette Lundy, preceded him in death in June 2022.
John is survived by his son, Perry and his wife Xinli; daughter Wendy; and four grandchildren, John, Eleanor, Olivia and Virginia Grace. John’s older sister Helen preceded him in death in 2009.
John served in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII in Germany and was discharged in 1947. He graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. John was licensed as a registered Architect, Structural Engineer and Civil Engineer in the State of Illinois and worked for several national Architect/Engineer firms in Chicago in the 1950s. One of the highlights was his work on the design team for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with Skidmore Owens and Merrill. He owned his own A/E firm during the 1960’s and during the 1970’s was the School Architect for the Rockford, IL Public School system. He was a Senior Architect, Corporate Engineering at Firestone Tire & Rubber during the 1980’s, where he worked on projects in Oklahoma, New Jersey and Tennessee as well as international projects in Mexico and Liberia. He retired as a GS-14 Contract Officer for the US Government, General Services Administration, responsible for negotiating and managing construction work in the US National Capital Region.
John loved building. He and his father built a house in Herrin, IL and in every house he lived in, he left book shelves, renovated kitchens, a skylight in the Akron house and a two car garage in his last home in Virginia. He also loved traveling and the family spent many summers touring the State of Illinois during the 1970’s in an Airstream trailer. They visited every campground and John and Grace later published a book on those campgrounds.
John and Grace retired to Ocala, FL in 1997 where they were active in the Oak Run retirement community. In 2002 John and Jeanette moved to On Top of the World.
In his retirement John was known for his love of shuffleboard. He represented the State of Florida for over a decade in the US Senior Games, participating in events in Cleveland, Houston, San Francisco, Birmingham and Albuquerque. He published a book, Shuffleboard, Why Not in 2011 to teach people about the game. He also enjoyed golf, and was very active in bocce ball, bridge and other card games. At OTOW he resumed his love of model airplanes, building several planes that he flew with the R/C Model Airplane Club.