John Anthony Matel, age 65, of Vienna, VA, passed away on June 22, 2020. He was born in Milwaukee, WI to the late John Matel Sr. and Virginia Haase Matel. He is survived by his wife, Christine M. Johnson; his daughter, Mariza Matel (Brendan Williams); his sons, Alex and Espen Matel; and his sister, Christine Matel Milewski (Greg Milewski) of Oak Creek, WI.
After serving 32 years as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, John became a self-professed “Gentleman of Leisure…a sometime diplomat, conservationist & seeker of insights.” John purchased his first forest land in 2005 near Lawrenceville, VA, and as a landowner, certified tree farmer & naturalist, managed nearly 500 acres of Virginia forest for timber, wildlife and water quality. He actively served on boards for Virginia Tree Farm Foundation and the Forest History Society, and promoted southern pine ecology and working landscapes. John led by example, and worked to restore longleaf and shortleaf ecosystems on dedicated parcels of his land, a promise for the future and a beauty today.
John’s diplomatic posts with the U.S. Department of State in Brazil, Norway, Poland, Iraq, and the U.S., let him do what he loved: working to understand societies, information and behaviors, and shape strategies to engage networked publics. His proudest accomplishments included working with Iraqis to rebuild their communities after ousting al-Qaeda in Anbar Province, and sending over 26,000 Brazilian students to study STEM fields in top American universities. His career in diplomacy included broadening experiences as President of the Fulbright Commission in Brazil, Senior International advisor at Smithsonian Institution and State Department Fellow at Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy.
A memorial celebration will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to The Nature Conservancy, Directed Gifts. Online condolences may be made at www.williamsfuneralhomeva.com.