John H. Matlock, former executive director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and associate vice provost, died Jan. 21 at age 76.
John was born in Warren, Ohio, on Aug. 23, 1946, during a visit to family, and was raised in Detroit. He was a shy yet very bright child, who loved to read everything and was glad that his punishment was to go to his room so he could read. He was favored by his mother and aunt Ida Bea Walker, who doted upon him.
He was inspired to love and respect others through his faith in God, and received Christian Baptism on May 29, 1960, at Redeemer Chapel in Detroit.
John was blessed with a productive life that was lived to the fullest. He was the son of John Matlock Sr. and Doris Ford Matlock, and part of a large family, with brothers Richard, Kenneth and Ronald, and sisters Deloise and Jackie.
He married Margaret Scisney on Dec. 21, 1991. They shared one daughter, Robin, and one faithful daughter, Lauren Kachorek-LaRose (Corey).
John graduated from State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 and was editor-in-chief of the student paper. At Ferris State, John was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, and later became an Archon, Gamma Rho Boule. He furthered his education with a Master of Arts degree in journalism in 1973, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1978 from the University of Michigan.
John was an honored professional and a visionary leader, receiving numerous awards and special recognitions. A few of the awards just in 2013 included: the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, Detroit Center Outstanding Service Award, La Celebracion Latina Circle Award, Association of Black Professional Administrators Faculty and Staff Award, and UM Black Celebratory Cornerstone Award.
He served as chief of staff for U.S. Reps. Harold Ford Sr. of Tennessee, and John Conyers of Michigan. He was extremely proud of the extraordinary honor of working with Rosa L. Parks. However, his first love was always his family in Detroit, and the University of Michigan.
In 1988, he returned to Michigan as U-M’s director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, and later was promoted to associate vice provost, retiring in 2013. In these roles he was a valued mentor and advocate for many individuals and causes.
John loved to travel and through his life took the opportunity to visit many parts of the world including Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. These travels enabled a profound global awareness of connectiveness, and passion for and appreciation of all people.
He leaves us to celebrate his life and cherish his love, generosity and many contributions: his devoted wife, loving daughters, host of caring relatives, friends, fraternal brothers, and supportive colleagues.
— Submitted by the Matlock family