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Lisa Michelle Matlock

1968 - 2019
Lisa Michelle Matlock Obituary
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
Published in The Durango Herald on Aug. 28, 2019
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