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September 17, 2018     West Seattle Herald
Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies
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Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies | Westside Seattle Skip to main content September 17, 2018|56 °F Partly Cloudy Search Search Secondary links Subscribe Advertise Contact Us Westside Seattle if (typeof googletag !== "undefined") { googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag. }); } NewsBallardHighlineWest SeattlePolice BlotterBallardHighlineWest SeattleCalendarBallardHighlineWest SeattleFeaturesBallardHighlineWest SeattleArts & EntertainmentBallardHighlineWest SeattleObitsBallardHighlineWest SeattleSportsBallardHighlineWest SeattleEatBallardHighlineWest SeattleTrafficBallardWest SeattleDwellHealthMoneyOpinion Recent Articles Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies Wastemobile household hazardous waste collection comes to Burien, Sept. 21-23 Chief Sealth steals show against West Seattle in Huling Bowl Herbold: Letter to SDOT re: Bus Access to Downtown after Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes Cosmo Seattle 7k Run and 5k Run/Walk will take over Alki Sept. 16 MISSING; Young woman with Autism being sought if (typeof googletag !== "undefined") { googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag. }); } Trending Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies Wastemobile household hazardous waste collection comes to Burien, Sept. 21-23 Chief Sealth steals show against West Seattle in Huling Bowl Herbold: Letter to SDOT re: Bus Access to Downtown after Alaskan Way Viaduct Closes Cosmo Seattle 7k Run and 5k Run/Walk will take over Alki Sept. 16 MISSING; Young woman with Autism being sought Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies Rob Mattson, unofficial Mayor of Ballard, dies if (typeof googletag !== "undefined") { googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag. }); } Rob Mattson Mon, 09/17/2018 Robert W. Mattson, 69, passed away Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at his home in Oak Harbor, WA. Born March 8, 1949 in Mankato, MN, he was the son of Dr. Bruce Douglas and Mary Lou Neely Mattson.  He is survived by his parents; wife Mary Moore Mattson; son Robert Mattson Jr., son and daughter in law Jason and Tabitha Mattson, son and daughter in law Samuel and Myranda Mattson; daughter and son-in-law Sarah Mattson and George Calderon; grandchildren Benjamin, Maya, Quinton, and Fox Mattson; brothers Bruce Douglas Mattson Jr. and Daniel Mattson; five nieces and nephews; longtime friend Kathy Spencer, and his trusted guide dog Tyrone (“Ty”). Rob’s legacy is defined by his extraordinary service to the community, dedication to his family and refusal to let blindness stop him from doing anything.  In his professional life, Rob was the first Neighborhood District Coordinator for the Ballard neighborhood when the “Little City Hall” program started – 46 years ago.  He mentored many of the Coordinators and set the bar high for accountability from City employees.  Ballard neighbors and businesses depended on him and always knew they could call Rob and get a thorough, researched, balanced answer.  He loved the work and it showed.  He helped the city effort to accommodate the needs of the homeless and then turned to coordinate the visits of Gustav of Sweden and Olaf of Norway. When he retired in 2013, members of the business community and residents roasted and toasted their “Mayor of Ballard” Rob was well read, cerebral, and a strong leader, but he also enjoyed getting dirty and taking chances.  One fall morning his brother came to pick up Rob and his boat to go fishing in Shilshole Bay.  He told Rob it was so foggy that you couldn't see anything, to which Rob responded: "So what?! Let's go!".  A professional tinkerer, he owned numerous cars and boats over the years.  His last was a 26-foot Columbia sailboat that he kept moored at the Oak Harbor Marina.  As a lifelong fisherman, Rob was adept at rigging for salmon trolling.  He loved getting together with his brothers for repairs and projects of all kinds, always coming prepared with tools, electronic equipment and plenty of enthusiasm. Rob had an adventurous spirit, a tenacious desire to try new things, and an infectious laugh.  He taught his children a strong work ethic, the importance of spending time with family, and to focus on love and compassion in the face of adversity.  He will be missed dearly.   Editor’s note: The following story appeared in the Ballard News-Tribune in 2013 Rob Mattson, long-time Ballard District Coordinator, is retiring Thu, 10/10/2013 By Zachary Bryan Ever since Rob Mattson started working in Ballard in 1973, under Mayor Wes Uhlman's new Community Service Center program, he has quietly pulled the ropes and levers behind the curtain, forming throughout the years one of Seattle's strongest communities. Now, Rob is retiring from his position as Ballard District Coordinator. According to a letter he sent out to community members, he has sold his house in Ballard and on Nov. 2 he will be headed over to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, a small city of 24,000. His plans? "Not work," he says a little devilishly. But in all seriousness, because Rob is Rob, he'll probably get involved in community matters again, either attending Oak Harbor City Council Meetings or writing cranky letters to the local newspaper. In his letter, he writes: "This has not been an easy decision for me. I have worked for the City of Seattle since October of 1971. Although I had experience working in several city departments in a variety of capacities, I have spent most of my public service career as the City’s representative to Ballard and other northwest Seattle neighborhoods. I can truthfully say this has been a rewarding career and that each of you have contributed to making it so. Although I have mixed feelings about this decision, I know it is in the best interest of my family; and will allow me to chart a new course for how I spend the rest of my life." To put it mildly, if Rob had never served the function he had, Ballard would have been hard pressed to form the community it has. For every community group, for every Ballardite with a vision of making the neighborhood a better place, Rob has been there offering a guiding hand. But Rob would never boast about his own accomplishments. When the Ballard News-Tribune did a profile on Rob last April, he said of his work: “I’m sort of that background guy behind the curtain. That’s the way I like to do it. I tell my coworkers that, I tell citizens that. It’s more important I leave a legacy of people who are savvy, able to do things and able to speak up." Now, it will be time to see if his legacy of a committed community holds up. The newly elected president of the Ballard District Council, 36th District Republicans' Kirk Robbins, will be the first BDC president to act without the guidance of Rob in the council's 25-year history. Rob tried to get away without any kind of fanfare in his honor. In his letter, which he sent out in the last minute before what would be his last BDC meeting, he said, "For those of you who have worked with me, you know that I am not a highly public person. I prefer to accomplish what I get done behind the scenes, and provide support or strategic advice to those around me. So, although I am not exactly slipping out of town; I will not make a major fanfare of this announcement." But Rob can't get off the hook quite that easily. At the BDC meeting, cake was brought in his honor, and he was crowned (literally, with a paper crown) as "King of Ballard." Now former BDC President Catherine Weatbrook choked up in tears when she announced his retirement -- he failed to make a note of it during his turn at the microphone -- and many attendees of the meeting thanked him for his contribution to the neighborhood. And now, the BNT has written yet another article about him, which will probably embarrass him once again. But he deserves every bit of praise he gets. This young reporter, for one, is sad to see him go. Ballard News Tribune Robinson Papers Add new comment Your name Comment About text formats CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. 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