Green River Star -

By David Martin
Publisher 

Former mayor inducted into hall of fame

 

March 25, 2020



Former Sweetwater County commissioner and mayor of Green River Don Van Matre will be among those inducted into the Green River High School Hall of Fame this year, according to a press release from the high school hall of fame committee.

Van Matre served as a county commissioner from 2010 until his death last year. He was Green River’s mayor for one term, from 1987 to 1990. He was also a driving force behind establishing the county’s Veterans Service Office, an organization serving veterans in Sweetwater, Sublette and Lincoln counties. Van Matre was a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the Army. He earned a Bronze Star for his service.

His wife, Barb Van Matre, was inducted into the hall of fame in 2009.

It’s well-deserved,” Randy Walker, a friend of Van Matre’s said. “He was a pillar of our community.”

Walker said Van Matre influenced a number of people, himself included, in Green River and strived to make it a better community.

While Walker admits he only knew Van Matre for about 15 years, the two were close friends. Van Matre even helped manage Walker during his attempt to swim across the English Channel.

Van Matre was originally from the Farson-Eden area and while in the Army served as an aid at Fort Eistis, Va., and commanded an air base in Panama.

He retired as an Lt. Col. He also was a professor of military science at the University of Wisconsin prior to returning to Sweetwater County and moving to Green River.

As mayor, Van Matre adopted a motto for the city “doing as much with less,” during an economic downturn the city experienced.

The city was able to continue street reconstruction projects and ongoing work to beautify Flaming Gorge Way during this time. The city also annexed FMC Park and took over operation of the water distribution system while he was mayor.

Others who will be inducted into the hall of fame are Marlene Tromp, the president of Boise State University; Glen McLean, a vocational education teacher who worked at GRHS for more than 20 years and helped students earn 17 championships at the Wyoming Industrial Arts Fair; Brent Foster, a naval aviator and educator at the Office of Naval Research and the Naval War College; and the state champion 1974 GRHS football team.

 

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