March 3, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008 4:00 pm Vernon Funeral Home
Friday, March 7, 2008 6-8 pm
William Curtis Mateer, 85, a former diplomat, passed away on Monday, March 3, 2008, in Urbana.
He was born at home July 18, 1922, the son of Pearl and Willard Knight Mateer, in Urbana. He was graduated from Urbana High School in 1940. After serving in the army in World War II, he returned and earned a degree in journalism at The Ohio State University. He later received a master’s degree from George Washington University, including time spent as a civilian at the Air Force War College.
In 1948 he married Yvvonne Roberts. He worked as an editor at the Springfield Sun and later became a U.S. Foreign Service officer. In his posts in Central and South America, Europe and Africa, he was the director of Voice of America radio stations and the U.S. Information Agency offices.
Many of his assignments included dangerous and historic events. He was in Cuba when Fidel Castro took power, in Berlin when John F. Kennedy made his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech, in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign of terror, and in El Salvador during military junta rule.
After retiring to Urbana in 1975, Mr. Mateer was an editor at the Springfield News-Sun and an advisor at Urbana University. In addition, he helped to rewrite Urbana’s charter and to establish the local United Way chapter.
His daughter Carol; son-in-law George Hessler; granddaughters Christine, Nicole and Hope Hessler; two nieces and a nephew survive him. His wife of 58 years, Yvvonne Mateer, and two sisters, Anne Elizabeth Mateer Nielsen and Mildred Mateer Stallsmith, predeceased him.
A gathering of family and friends will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 7, 2008 in the Vernon Funeral Home Urbana. A Memorial Services will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, 2008 in the funeral home. Mr. Mateer’s cremated remains will be inurned at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.