IN MEMORIAM: George Carey Matthiessen

by Jane Ahrens

George Carey Matthiessen, a longtime Connecticut resident, died May 15 at his home in Chester. Born August 15, 1928 on Fishers Island, NY, Carey was the son of Erard A. and Elizabeth Carey Matthiessen.

He graduated from Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, received his bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton, and his PhD in marine biology from Harvard University. Carey served as a naval officer during the Korean War aboard the USS San Pablo and at the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory in New London.

Carey founded Marine Research Company in Falmouth, MA, was a partner in the Cotuit Oyster Company in Massachusetts, and founded Ocean Pond Corporation on Fishers Island, a commercial seed oyster operation.

Carey is survived by his wife of 65 years, Cis, with whom he lived in Weston, Edgartown, Marion, and Osterville, MA as well as Old Lyme, Lyme, and Chester, CT. Together they traveled to many countries, often for the purpose of research on oysters. Much of this research appeared in Carey’s 2001 book Oyster Culture.

Carey was active in conservation and served for years on the board of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, and much of his research concerned the effects of environmental degradation on marine species. Carey loved birding, boating, fishing, skiing, tennis, travel, literature, and politics.

Carey is predeceased by his brother, Peter Matthiessen of Sagaponack, NY. He is survived by a large family that will miss him very much, including his sister, Mary Wheelwright of Camden, ME; four daughters: Martina Lively and her husband Gary Lively of Phoenix, AZ, Connie Matthiessen of San Francisco, CA, Hope Matthiessen and her husband David Boorstin of New York, NY, and Betsy Matthiessen and her husband Robert van Dernoot of Deep River, CT; a son, John and his wife Alex Matthiessen of Ivoryton, CT; as well as twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Carey’s name to the Natural Resources Defense Council at

Matthiessens on the beach on F.I. in the late ’70s. From left to right, they are Erard “Matty” Matthiessen and his three children, Mary Wheelwright, Carey and Peter Matthiessen.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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