Pete Mattivi, R.I.P.
There are plenty of people who can legitimately claim to have devoted a portion of their lives in service to their communities. But few can claim the legacy that Pete Mattivi did in Garfield County, and New Castle in particular.
Few of the recent arrivals in this part of Colorado, we suspect, knew much about Mattivi, who died Saturday in Rifle at the age of 103. But for decades, he was an important part of government and community affairs in Garfield County and New Castle.
Mattivi served two terms as mayor of New Castle, beginning the first in 1954 and completing the second in 1981.
Both of those stints as mayor overlapped with Mattivi’s 20 years as Garfield County commissioner, where he served from 1957 to 1977. It’s hard to imagine anyone simultaneously representing both county and municipal government today.
When he began serving on the commission, Garfield County was primarily an agricultural area with a small recreational industry. By the time he retired, it was gearing up for a large oil-shale boom, recreation was becoming a critical part of the local economy and disputes over how to protect the natural resources of the county were becoming commonplace.
Mattivi navigated the changing political waters with good humor and courtesy for those who came before the commissioners.
In addition to his service to the town and county, Mattivi also served 10 years on the Re-2 School Board and was an original member of the Valley View Hospital board of directors. He also helped found the New Castle Community Center and the New Castle Lions Club.
With his wife, Opal, he also ran a garage and Studebaker dealership in New Castle. They continued to operate Mattivi Motor Co. until 1982, even though Studebaker stopped making cars in 1966.
Garfield County and New Castle have changed immensely since Mattivi first began his long career in public service. They are both better for his efforts.