March 11, 1946—September 5, 2021

John Matlack was born in Santa Monica, CA on March 11, 1946, the first child of David and Virginia Foote Matlack.  John died on September 5, 2021 in Boulder, CO.  John grew up in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, graduating from UCSB and Berkeley with an MFA.  John loved the ocean and the sea air and the vibe of California in the 60’s. John moved to the mountains of Boulder in 1967 after experiencing “the Summer of Love” in the Haight Ashbury.  He lived in a cabin on Magnolia Road for several years where he met and maintained life-long friends.  He moved to town to live and work in his studio on the Pearl Street Mall where he made fine paintings of imagined land and water scapes, all in vibrant purples, teal, pink , silver…..except when he wanted to make a statement about the decline of our environment, water and air, then he used brown and grey and muddy orange.  He was fondly dubbed “King of the Mall” in those years. He was most proud of having worked with Cristo and Jean Claude on 4 of their art installations.

He was married to and is survived by his wife of 28 years, Claire Riley. He was a loving grandfather to Jordan and Jacob Bardwell who always made him proud.  He was step-father to Michelle (Scott)  Bardwell of Erie and Jayna Brown of Brooklyn.  His parents pre-deceased him, his mother just last December.  He is survived by his step-mother Joyce of LA and all his siblings, Anne (Greg) Evans of Napa, Kathy (Llyod) Matlack Price of San Diego, Laura of LA, Robert McWilliams of Longmont and Peter (Nancy) Fish of San Francisco.  He was “fun” Uncle John to Andy and Sam Evans, Ramona, Julia(Erik) and Joey (Jackie) Price.  John is also survived by many, many friends, old and new….from all over the world.

John’s death was sudden sort of….in his last 6 months he reopened his art studio on north Broadway where he spent time every day, he bought himself a new car which brought him great joy, he had a garden share at the Foothills Community Garden where he proudly grew hundreds of hot peppers and met new friends. He knew and stopped to speak to everyone….in the market, on the street, in his backyard, with a story, about the latest news, to discuss a book he had just read. John spent these last months getting his affairs in order…just because.  John called to “chat” to everyone of his family on Friday evening.  In retrospect, he might have known somewhere deep inside that his date with destiny had arrived.

We grieve his death and we will celebrate his life at a date to be determined. He rests now at The Natural Funeral Home 102 W Chester St Lafayette.  Visiting hours were Monday, September 6, 2021 and Tuesday, September 7, 2021 from 2-4pm.

Please honor John by doing today what you know is right….for tomorrow may never come.

Donations may be made to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, 4869 N Broadway, Boulder 80304.

3 thoughts on “John W Matlack”

  1. Blessed friend, you with such a free spirit, generous heart, and soul of an artist – thank you for all you have given to life and to all of us who’s lives have been deeply touched by you. You are dearly loved.

    1. Awwww Claire! I’m so sorry to hear about John’s passing! I always loved running into you together! He had such a great presence! I know you will miss him terribly. I’m sending much love your way!???

  2. Dearest Claire!
    Now more than ever I am grateful for the one and only time I met John-having dinner at your home- a home filled with love, light, laughter, beauty.
    Thank you for the invite- I can still see John’s smile, and feel the love he had for you, life and art.
    I hold you in my heart as you move through this doorway and trust the ever present love of the Spiritual world is embracing you and your family,
    much love and gratitude,

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