Matthews, S. Reginald "Reg"|
Reg "Coach" Matthews, 91, passed away peacefully on August 16, 2015 surrounded by his wife, daughter, and granddaughter. How does one tell the story of a man who lived such a rich and full life? We begin where it all began- in Natick, Massachusetts. Reg, or Butch as he was called in his early years, was an all around athlete playing basketball, baseball, and football at Natick High School. After high school he enrolled at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. Reg joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a communications radioman with the Army Airways Communications Systems (AACS) during WWII. He was stationed in Nadzab, New Guinea, helping Gener
al MacArthur and the Aussies in the Pacific Theater. As one would expect from working in the jungle, Reg and his company caught malaria. They relocated to Tokyo where Jean "Mom" MacArthur, wife of General MacArthur, looked after them. In March of 1946 she told the boys to pack their bags because they were going to a VA hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was at the University of Nebraska where Reg would earn a Bachelor's Degree in Education and become certified to teach secondary school. He also spent three years playing baseball for the Cornhuskers. He returned to Natick to teach at the high school, as well as complete a Master's Degree in Education at Boston University. Soon after, he had a brief stint as the Director of Recreation at Indiana University. In 1947 he married his sweetheart and love of his life, Norma Benjamin of Framingham, MA. He was a devoted and loving husband for 67 years and they had two children Marilyn and Wayne. The family move to Phoenix in 1956 and Reg joined the teaching and coaching staff of West High. For the next 30 years he dedicated his life to mentoring and training young athletes in baseball, football, and wrestling, as well as teaching students biology and the importance of physical education and health. He retired in 1984, but continued to teach and coach as a substitute at Carl Hayden High School. Reg was well respected by his students and became a positive role model in many young lives. Reg and Norma joined the Beatitudes family in 2013, reconnecting with old friends and making new friends. Reg lived a full life, always enjoying time spent with his family and friends. He is survived by his wife Norma Matthews, daughter Marilyn Matthews Harbster and granddaughter Jennifer Harbster. He was preceded in death by his son Wayne Matthews in 2014. "What is a life, or a letter, or an adventure without a P.S.?" P.S. Reg is also known for his home-made fruit jam, making silver turquoise jewelry, love of peanut butter, and never passing up a good deal at the 99 cent store. A celebration of his life will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at the Everett Luther Life Center, Beatitudes Campus, 1610 West
Glendale Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85021. In lieu of flowers we ask that
you contribute to the Beatitudes Campus Foundation, 1610 West Glendale Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85021.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 23, 2015