Community leader Matthews dies

April 29, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

Local community leader, Eustace P. “Matt” Matthews passed away Sunday, April 28 at the age of 78. Matthews leaves behind a legacy of service and commitment to the local area and country.

Born on May 11, 1934, in Annapolis, Md., Matthews was one of eight children. Working in numerous capacities within the local area, Matthews blazed a trail of integrity, dedication and commitment where ever his foot would tread.

Maxine Malone, the current Director of the Portsmouth Inner-City Development Corporation said she is deeply saddened by the loss of Matthews, but is inspired by his life and the example he set.

“Mr. Matthews was truly an asset to this community. He offered a life of tireless effort and dedication. We will miss him greatly, but we are thankful for his example and leadership,” Malone said.

Matthews was appointed as the first Director of the Portsmouth Inner-City Development Corporation (PIDC). He was also a member of the 1983 planning committee when Portsmouth won the All-American City Award.

Shawnee State University later became Matthews’s place of employment, where he worked as the Director of Student Support Services and the Coordinator of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs at Shawnee State University.

SSU President, Dr. Rita Rice Morris said Matthews will be greatly missed and was extremely important to Shawnee State University.

“Matt was such an integral part of campus life at Shawnee State University for so many years. He will be missed and remembered by countless students, faculty, staff, and all who were fortunate enough to have known him. Our campus family is deeply saddened and send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends,” Rice said.

While at Shawnee, Matthews was instrumental in the creation of the African, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific and Native American “AHANA” student organization.

An AHANA student scholarship was recently established bearing his name. Matthews retired from Shawnee State in July of 2012.

Matthews also had an extensive and successful career in the U.S. Airforce, where he enlisted at age 17. While in the service, he received the Air Force Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals.

A veteran of both the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War, he retired in 1977 from the Air Force as First Sergeant of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center squadron with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.

After his Air Force retirement, Matthews obtained both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in education and counseling from Ohio University.

Bill Thacker, Executive Director of Scioto County Community Action, said the passing of Matthews is a major loss to the agency.

“Matt was not only our long-term board chairman, he was a great friend to many of us, and he will be very sorely missed,” Thacker said.

Thacker also said Matthews would want CAO to continue to move forward.

“He cared so deeply about the work that we do, I am sure that he wouldn’t want any slacking off, we will just move forward. He will be very difficult to replace,” Thacker said.

Thacker also said Matthews was very active and committed to the CAO agency and its mission.

Funeral services for Matthews will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Central Church of Christ with Dennis Dawes, minister, officiating. There will be one hour of visitation prior to the funeral service.

The family will receive friends at the Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home in Portsmouth Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. where a Masonic Service will be conducted at 8 p.m. by Trinity Lodge 9.

Matthews’ burial will take place in the historic Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @ PortiaWillPDT.