A homegoing service of triump was held Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 2:00PM at the Valley Harvest Ministries Church in Dublin, VA. Arrangements were handled by Serenity Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
William R. Matthews, Jr. was born March 27, 1925 to the late William Sr. and Pattie Matthews in McDowell County, WV. He departed this life on Monday, May 31, 2010, at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, VA.
William (Bill) retired from Hercules Incorporated, now known as Alliant Techsystems, in March 1991 after 37 years of service. He diligently worked his way up from Roads & Grounds to Foreman, then to Trainer and eventually retired in Industrial Engineering. In his earlier years, he attended Bluefield State University and enlisted into the U. S. Air Force. He later became one of the first African Americans to fly solo at the New River Valley Airport in Dublin, VA where he resided for many years. This was one of his most cherished accomplishments. Not only did he enjoy the thrill of flying airplanes, he also enjoyed riding motorcycles.
He served on the Town of Dublin Planning Commission and in 1985 won a competition to design the town seal. His award winning design still remains the official seal used by the town for their letterhead, envelopes and decals. He was a member of the NAACP and fully embraces their mission to ensure political, educational, social and economic equality of minority citizens by participating in many civic groups throughout the New River Valley. He was well known for his sign painting expertise and his Old English painting style was utilized by many businesses and churches throughout the community. Bill had a passion for music and playing his beloved soprano, alto saxophones and flute while spreading joy to those who listened. He was a dedicated member of Valley Harvest Ministries for many years and served on the praise and worship team and with the Harvest JOY Senior Group, sharing his love for the Lord and music.
He touched many lives not only with his creativity and love for music but with his wonderful sense of humor and love of laughter. He found great joy in sharing his arsenal of jokes to bring smiles and laughter to all. His comedic legacy lives on in the hearts of family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Bryce Matthews.
Bill leaves to cherish his memory; his children, Victor Matthews (Shannon) and William “Billy” Matthews III (Felicia), all of Texas, and Jeffrey “Dean” Matthews (Kim), of Radford; a sister, Nannie Spencer, of West Virginia; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends.