“I know your deeds, your hard work, and your perseverance…You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” Rev 2: 2-3
Throughout the course of our lives, most of us will only ever encounter a handful of times a person that exhibits such an all-encompassing breadth of profound perseverance and a life well-lived. It is rare that we find ourselves in the presence of someone who truly lives and leads by example – in their faith, their marriage, their devotion to family, both immediate and extended, their work, friends, and even finances – and who consistently stays the course in their surety of God’s plan, no matter the obstacles life presents.
James Edward Matthews, “Jim”, was born on February 1st, 1958 in Waynesville, MO to Karl and Alice Matthews and was the youngest of he and his twin sister, Jane. The family briefly moved back to Kansas shortly after, where they stayed until heading to Texas for eight years. It was during that time in Texas that two more sisters, Shari and Charlene, were born into the family and quickly came to know the wonderful love of their brother as well. The family later moved back to Wichita, KS where they lived for two years until they settled down in Cheney, KS.
“I think, am sure, a brother’s love exceeds all the world’s loves in its unworldliness.” – Robert Browning
From a young age, Jim was known amongst his siblings as being ornery, but in spite of that orneriness, he was ever the responsible and practical brother. Always very patient and exceedingly kind, he made it a point to help anyone out whenever he could, and he even took it upon himself to teach one of his sisters how to drive a stick shift, and later, he walked Shari down the aisle at her own wedding.
Jim went into the world of electronics and technology immediately out of high school and devoted 28 years to NCR in Wichita, KS and the remainder of his career working for Hillcrest Bank, Net Standard, and KVC Health Systems Inc. throughout the Kansas City area. The appreciation of his skill and innate ability to understand, diagnose, and troubleshoot extended far past his employers to his family, friends, and colleagues.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano
Above all things, aside from his love of God, Jim was a family man through and through. He was wonderfully blessed with four amazing children; Jason, Jennifer, Elizabeth “Liz”, and Brittany, and five grandchildren; Kaleb, Braydien, Emma, Alexzander, and Parker. Just to hear him speak of any one of them, a person couldn’t help but to realize the true depth of his love for them all. His joy and his pride were wrapped up in his wife and family, and it was apparent in everything he did. He looked forward to the family vacations together – including one where they went down into a volcano together, and he was overjoyed to have walked one of his daughters, Jennifer, down the aisle at her wedding. The time spent at Beaver Lake each year was precious to him and held a special place in his heart.
For Jim, the emphasis on time with family extended beyond to include his mother, sisters and their spouses, and his nieces and nephews and their children. The nieces and nephews always looked forward to enjoying motorcycle rides with him on his Gold Wing, and he was sure to make it a priority to attend the annual Matthews Family Reunion where they would all gather together for a weekend of relaxation and quality family time. His laughter was never far out of reach, and that gleam of orneriness still shone brightly in his eyes decades later.
The vast impact Jim made in his own family’s lives reached far and across many long-held friendships, but no friendship was as great as that of he and Craig Boothe (Wichita, KS). The two met in the fall of 1968 after the Matthews family moved to Cheney, KS, and their friendship proved to be a formidable glue, holding strong through life’s changes and even living in separate cities, it spanned over 49 years. Craig later married Debbie, and the friendship and faith shared between them and Jim and Janet was a beautiful sight to behold. Craig and Debbie opened up their home at Beaver Lake each year so the four of them could relish in that decades-long friendship they all shared. The bond between them stood as a testament to just how deep Jim held the importance of being a good friend to so many.
“It was brave. It was rare. It was love, and it was beautiful.” – Laini Taylor
Never has there been a more tangible presence of love than that of Jim and his wife, Janet. One simply had to be in the same room as the two of them to know that their worlds revolved around one another. They met when he worked with NCR as a vendor for a financial institution that she was employed with, and the draw to one another was immediate. The courtship soon began, and to this day, Janet still smiles wistfully when she speaks of the long talks they shared on the phone during his drive home from Derby to Cheney every night.
Jim and Janet joined together under God’s authority on June 10th, 2000 and brought forth seventeen wonderful years of pure inspiration, love, and devotion that served as a constant reminder of what true love really is for anyone that came in contact with them. With God at the forefront of their marriage, the two pressed on together through losses of loved ones, job changes, relocation, and two battles with cancer – all the while, maintaining their faith in what the Father had planned. In his final days, the one person that could bring a smile to his face and light into his fleeting life, was Janet.
Jim’s faith was unwavering through the end. In his final weeks, he spoke of the joy he had in looking forward to walking on the streets of gold and being home with his heavenly Father. He lived a full and happy 59 years, and on Friday, May 26th, 2017, Jim was called home to be with Him.
He was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Angie Brean, his father and mother-in-law, Wally and Mary Boom, and his father, Karl Matthews. He is survived by his wife, Janet Matthews of Olathe, KS, son Jason (Christina) Matthews of Gardner, KS, daughters Jennifer (Brad) Glazier of Wichita, KS, Liz Griswold of Overland Park, KS, and Brittany Griswold of Olathe, KS, grandchildren Emma and Parker Matthews (Jason), Kaleb, Braydien, and Alexzander (Jennifer), mother Alice Matthews of Cheney, KS, sisters Jane (James) Walker of Andover, KS, Shari (Randy) Owens of Cheney, KS, and Charlene (Richard) Gordon of Olathe, KS, brother-in-law Jeff (Faith) Boom of Wichita, KS, and many nieces and nephews.
“God loaned him to me for 59 years, and although I would have loved to have more, he was the greatest son anyone could have ever asked for.” – his mother, Alice Matthews
Services for Jim are to be Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 at Penwell-Gable Olathe Chapel at 14275 Black Bob Rd, Olathe, KS 66062. Visitation will be held at 10am with services to follow at 11am.
For the man who always said, “Glad you got to see me,” with that playful smile on his face whenever he parted ways, we say to you now: We are glad, so very glad. And we can’t wait to see you again one day.
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