James Matson


Posted: Sunday, November 05, 2006

Former Juneau resident Dr. James Matson, 62, died in his sleep Nov. 2, 2006, in Petersburg, where he was conducting an eye clinic. The death appeared to be the result of injuries sustained in a fall the previous day.

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Born Oct. 26, 1944, in Stockton, Calif., to James and Gladys Matson, he grew up in Paradise Valley, Nev. He served in Vietnam as a medic, and afterward attended the University of Nevada, in Reno, and Pacific University, in Forest Grove, Ore., where he earned his doctorate of Optometry in 1977.

He came to Alaska with the Public Health Service, and then settled in Juneau in 1978. He opened the Alaska Vision Center in 1979 and continued to practice there until his semi-retirement in 2004, when he and his wife, Phyllice, moved to a 100 year old farmhouse in Dayton, Oregon.

He continued to practice optometry, conducting quarterly clinics in Petersburg until his death.

He enjoyed gardening and sports, and family members said he was an avid hunter.

"He loved nothing better than joining his friends for a yearly hunt at Lake Hasselborg, or watching a ball game or boxing match with his sons" said family. "He will be remembered by his patients as an outstanding and caring eye doctor who loved his work and treated each patient as a friend."

He is survived by his parents; wife, Phyllice Bradner Matson, of Dayton, Ore.; sons, Joe Matson and Nick Matson, of Los Angeles; stepson, Ross Bradner, of Dayton; sisters Laura Wright and her husband, John, of Fallon, Nev.; niece and nephew, Tamaron and Vareck, grandnieces, Brooke and Breanna; and grandnephews, Anthony and Tevin.

According to his wishes, he will be cremated and his ashes scattered over Lake Hasselborg. A memorial service will be held in Fallon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to his favorite charity, the Glory Hole in Juneau.

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