Don Matto, 82, died peacefully on June 27, 2023 after a sudden illness. Kathie, his wife of 60 years and the love of his life, was by his side. He is also survived by his four younger siblings (George, Regina, Allen and Christine), his three children (Don Jr., Felicia and Michael), four grandchildren, and Cassie the boxer.\n\nDon was born into a family of artists and craftsmen in Oakland, California on the Ides of March, 1941. His mother Mari was an accomplished painter, his father Bill a talented woodworker. His grandfather was Paul A. Schmitt, noted watercolorist and muralist. Don inherited their gifts for proportion, balance, and design, skills he used to design and build everything from a child’s fort to his own 5000 square foot house.\n\nIn childhood he made money selling rabbits to the local butcher and taking any odd job he could find. He learned quickly to work smarter, not harder, often saying “Always try the easiest thing first.” He attended grammar school and high school while also serving as an alterboy at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. Don’s life would forever change when Kathie Murray, spurred on by her best friend Vicki, asked Don to take her to her Junior Prom. Their budding romance was interrupted, however, as Don joined the US Navy and was stationed, among other places, on Christmas Island where he witnessed atomic bomb testing. \n\nAfter Don returned to civilian life, Don and Kathie married on February 22, 1963 and later moved to Pinole, CA where he and Kathie raised their family and where Don invented the Dad Joke. Longstanding members of the congregation of St Joseph’s church, Don was also known for providing the coffee and donuts after Sunday mass, and hosting the enormous Fourth of July pool parties where everyone was guaranteed good BBQ and a sunburn.\n\nDon spent his career working for Chevron. Starting as a master electrician in the Richmond refinery, he worked days and took classes at the local community college at night. He applied for every possible promotion (whether he was qualified or not). This strategy paid off and Don made his mark in management. Always one to zig when everyone else zags (Don was an early adopter of superior but poorly marketed technology: Betamax over VHS, Intellivision over Atari, Saturn cars), his habit of experimentation finally served him well at Chevron when he was put in charge of a Research and Development group in IT—from there he could challenge all the standard operating procedures of corporate management with impunity and justify it to the executives as innovation. \n\nChevron offered Don an early retirement at the age of 56. This suited Don just fine, since he was tired of the suits anyway (both wearing them and those in the boardroom). Don and Kathie soon moved to their 23-acre retirement property in Garden Valley, CA, with Don’s beloved classic (or some might say, derelict) cars and large collection of outdated computer equipment. Don soon became known around town as the owner of the edifice the locals called “the house that is never finished.” Once Don finally proved them wrong (“It’s done enough!” he declared) he would spend his remaining years doing all he could to both transform and honor the land, taking down trees, digging trenches with his backhoe, building greenhouses, and sometimes just writing down his plan for the day in his journal while sitting beside the cool creek that runs along the meadow.\n\nEveryone who knew Don tells some version of the same story: “He fixed my television;” “He fixed my dishwasher;” “He fixed my car;” “He fixed my computer.” Effortlessly generous with his time and wide-ranging expertise, Don will be remembered as the best of husbands, fathers, friends and neighbors. His memorial will take place July 21, 11am at Holy Trinity Parish in El Dorado Hills. The family appreciates your kind thoughts and remembrances, but in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to cancer research.