Lisa Michelle Matlock
1968 - 2019
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Lisa Michelle Matlock, educator, interpreter, and park ranger, died at the age of 51 on Aug. 21, 2019, in Grand Junction after battling pancreatic cancer with the same determination and strength with which she approached everything in life.

Lisa grew up in Durango and graduated from Durango High School in 1986, where she was the editor-in-chief of El Diablo, the student newspaper. She attended the University of Chicago and went on to get her Masters degree from the University of Alaska.

In 1994 Lisa started working as an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service. For the next several years she connected visitors with cultural and natural wonders at parks nationwide, including Mesa Verde and Yosemite. She also did seasonal stints at parks in Alaska, during which she fell in love with the state.

As an education specialist at Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward, Alaska, Lisa helped develop the Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center, which focuses on marine research and education. In Seward, Lisa met her lifelong partner, James "Jimmy" Burns. The two followed Lisa's work to New Mexico in 2002, but were soon lured back to Alaska. They settled in Sitka for four years, then moved to Homer, where Lisa worked as an education specialist for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for five years, flying by small plane to remote villages to make presentations to schools.

Lisa's most recent job was as outreach coordinator for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.

She is survived by her husband, James Burns, her sister, Stephanie Matlock (Doug), her father, Gary Matlock (Jan), stepbrothers Geoffrey and Jonathan Thompson (Wendy), and several nieces and nephews. She will be missed by all who knew her, and remembered for her gregariousness, fierce intelligence, quirky sense of humor, and her hankering for good beer.

An informal gathering to celebrate Lisa's life will be held at Durango's Folsom Park at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31. Donations can be made in her name to NPR, National Audubon Society, National Park Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, and World Wildlife Fund. Lisa Michelle Matlock

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Aug. 28, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
September 7, 2019
Angie McClung
September 1, 2019
What great times we had in theater. Miller production of Alice in Wonderland. You the March Hare and me the Mad Hatter. Nothing but love and respect for you Lisa.
Dan James
August 30, 2019
Our hearts go out to Jim and all family and friends that knew this beautiful spirit.
Jack & Becky Turner
August 29, 2019
So sorry you are gone Lisa. You have done such good things in this world. Glad to be part of your high school class.
Scott Hall
August 29, 2019
You will be greatly missed, my dear, beautiful friend. Much love to you on your new journey, and love to those who remain. I have not seen your face, other than in photographs, for many, many years; but I will always treasure the memories of the times we spent together, laughing, crying, and analyzing this crazy world. Go in Beauty, my friend!
Roxanne Henderson
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