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In Memory, Tommy Matthews

January 13th, 2015 by

imageMonticello and Drew County lost a dear friend and longtime resident this past Saturday. In fact he was the kind of man who symbolized the spirit of our people. That humble, kind, generous, loving man was Tommy Matthews. Many of you will remember him as the principal of W. C. Whaley Elementary School on North Main for 23 years.

Mr. Matthews graduated from Monticello High School, UAM and the University of Arkansas before embarking upon a teaching career that spanned 33 years with most of it spent at Whaley. He saw hundreds of youngsters come through and he loved them all. He was always kind, patient and caring.
At a time when most children are so vulnerable, he presented a male role model to those youngsters and he always strived to fulfill that need for them, administering reward and reproach equally.
Even at those early ages of 6 or 7 children seem to have this fear of “being sent to the office”, thanks to older siblings and friends. Imagine a young child’s fear when he was sent to the office and met big, husky Mr. Matthews. Now imagine their ease when he turned out to be a gentle giant! He made a difference in many young lives. Of that I am sure.
His interest in children and youth extended beyond elementary students. He kept the clock at UAM basketball games for 52 years. He also kept the clock at UAM football games and multitudes of basketball games at Drew Central. He took up tickets at Monticello football and basketball games. He really enjoyed being with young people and was an avid sports fan.
As a young man he had been a very successful tennis player. In his later years hip surgery slowed his game. Tommy Matthews lived his life also as a devoted husband to Pat and a devoted father to Bynum and Ann. I know he also was devoted to his grandchildren.
In 2004 Mr. Matthews and Pat moved to Maumelle, AR, to be closer to Bynum and his family. He health continued to slowly deteriorate and now he’s gone.
Mr. Matthews leaves behind and grieving family and many grown up children and friends who will miss him and yet celebrate his life because of his huge imprint he left on all our lives. Goodbye, old friend. Rest in peace knowing your kindness and memory lives on. Thank you for being you.

One Response to “In Memory, Tommy Matthews”

  1. Debra Marshall says:

    We consulted Mr. Matthews when he was Principal at W.C. Whaley School. He was so kind and understanding when we were agonizing over whether to hold our son back in the 1st grade. He told me that his Mother held him back, and it didn’t hurt him one bit and said if there’s a doubt, hold him back. We followed his direction, and never regretted it. He was a wonderful principal and will be missed!

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