Mater Family Endowed Scholarship
The Mater family has proudly given three generations of military service to our country. Milton H. Mater and his son, Scott, served their country with
honor and followed that service with distinguished civilian careers. Scott’s son, Josh, followed his grandfather and father in military service. He was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Oregon State University.
Milton Mater’s seventy-five years were packed with a mixture of military service, the creation of several businesses serving the forest industry, and contributions to his community and state in engineering, the arts and sciences, politics, and economic development. When he died in 1991, an editorial in the Corvallis Gazette Times called him “A Rare Person, one of those people whose contributions to society and the community transcend what mere mortals seem able to accomplish.” The editorial concluded: “Corvallis owes a large debt of gratitude for his unending effort to make this a better place to live.”
Milt joined the National Guard at seventeen, served for five years in World War II and continued as a reserve officer, commanding the Army Research and Development Unit in Oregon and applying his expertise in antiballistic missiles until his military retirement in 1972. He was awarded the Presidential Legion of Merit for his defense contributions, including organizing and chairing two national Army Research seminars held in Corvallis. He was captain of Company F of the 361st Infantry Regiment fighting on the Italian Front.
He earned a commission as a lieutenant in the Coast Artillery in the National Guard while concurrently graduating as cadet colonel in the Army ROTC and receiving a commission in the infantry.
Milt established Mater Machine Works and Mater Engineering in Corvallis, pioneering and inventing sawmill automation equipment, acquiring an international reputation and receiving numerous awards for his impact on the forest industry. He was named the 1965 Oregon Engineer of the Year, received the Gottschalk Award from the Forest Products Research Society in 1973, and and received the Lincoln Arc Welding Award for sawmill design. He authored more than 100 technical papers for the industry.
Milt’s diverse activities included chairing the Southwest Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, chairing the first seminar on Research and Development for the State of Oregon,and organizing the popular Opera Dinners in Corvallis with Portland Opera singers. He was given a lifetime honorary membership of the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce
and was active in Benton County Republican politics.
Milt’s son, Michael Scott Mater, was born in Corvallis, where he resided for the rest of his life. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1971 and followed in his father’s footsteps with a commission in the U.S. Army. Upon returning from active duty, Scott joined the family engineering firm as director of forest products engineering projects. He worked side-by-side with his father, his mother Jean, and his wife Catherine—all professionals in the forest products industry. He received his Professional Engineer (PE) license in mechanical engineering from the State of Oregon in 1971, quite by chance receiving the same PE license number his father was issued when he received his PE in mechanical engineering in the 1940s. Scott subsequently received PE licenses from the States of Washington, Idaho, Arizona, and New Mexico. An expert in the forest products industry, his professional engineering career involved him in projects all over the world. His work focused on sustainable forestry development—finding ways to both sustain the earth’s resources and the communities that utilize forest resources.
Scott’s passion for politics lead him to two terms on the Corvallis City Council from 1972-1975, including the council presidency in 1974. In 1975 he married fellow council member Catherine Galati, an OSU undergraduate at the time. They simultaneously served on the Corvallis City Council for several years.
Scott’s other main interests focused on the Corvallis community and its children. He served in a leadership role in helping to shape the Corvallis Riverfront Park, which culminates at the Corvallis Skate Park that he designed for the community. He became interested in soccer when his two sons, Joshua and Jason, began playing on Corvallis teams.
Michael died at age 53 on December 23, 2002, of complicationsfrom a fast-growing cancer. He left behind not only the legacy of his family, but one of caring for his community and natural resources. He also left memories in the minds of many young soccer players in the Willamette Valley. At the time of his death, Scott was one of the WillametteValley’s senior soccer referees.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Scott’s and Catherine’s oldest son, Joshua Mater, was commissioned as an Army officer in early December 2002. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Rainbolt and the OSU ROTC staff came to the Mater home to commission Joshua so Scott could see it. Scott pinned on one gold bar; Catherine did the other.
Josh entered Oregon State University in the fall of 1998, majoring in geography. Because of plans to study in Japan, he compressed the first two years of ROTC course work into his freshman year. Following his exchange to study Japanese in Japan, he returned to OSU to complete his degree and attain his commission in Air Defense Artillery. During his senior year of ROTC, Josh organized an alumni fundraiser to benefit the Military Science Scholarship Endowment Fund and future cadets at OSU and WOU. His efforts raised over $2,000 for the fund. In the fall of 2002 he further helped by participating in the 5th annual 20-mile run fundraiser. He has served on active duty in South Korea. In 2008 he served a tour in Iraq and is now working as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
The legacy of support to the military is not confined to the Mater men only. Dr. Jean Mater served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services in the 1970s and has continued to support military men and women through the Military Officers Club of Corvallis. Catherine Mater is actively seeking ways to provide similar support. The ROTC program has played a significant role in the lives the Mater family. It is appropriate that they be honored and remembered with an ROTC Scholarship. This scholarship in memory of Colonel Milton H. Mater and Michael Scott Mater and in honor of Josh Mater is funded through the generous donations of Milt’s wife, Dr. Jean Mater; Scott’s wife, Catherine Mater; and the friends of the Mater family who share a commitment to helping with the education of future Army cadets at OSU and WOU.