GREENVILLE - Robert Eugene Matthews Sr. passed away at Hospice of Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 20, 2012, with his granddaughter Jennifer at his side.
He was born on March 23, 1918, to Roy Eugene and Mary Agnes Hart Matthews in Buck's Corner, Darke County, Ohio. Predeceasing him were his wife of 70 years, Onda Fae Hopper, whom he married on June 22, 1940; his son, Larry Ray Matthews; and his son-in-law, Milton Dale Aldridge.
Surviving him are his daughter and son-in-law, Shirley and Fred Hoff; his son, Robert Eugene Matthews Jr.; and daughter in-law, Beverly Grooms Matthews. Also, are his seven grandchildren and their spouses, Jennifer and Dan Bozone, Rachael Aldridge, Gretchen and Luigi Morfea, Carrie and Keith Trader, Aaron and Ginny Matthews, Janelle Gannon and Melinda and Gentric Isaacson. His great-grandchildren include Chelsea and Emmalea Bozone; Nicolas and Christopher Morfea; Rhianna, Hope, Isabella, Eryn, and Rhys Trader; Amanda and Sara Matthews; and Rae Ann Gannon. Surviving him are his sister-in-law, Florine Martin Matthews, wife of Cecil Eldon, and several nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded by his siblings and their spouses: Ralph Leroy and Lucille Matthews; Kenneth Harold Matthews, who passed away at the age of 12; Cecil Eldon Matthews; Ruth Irene and Lee Engle; Estella Pauline and Chester Greer; Mildred Gertrude and Gerald Pearson; and Edith Olive and Robert Martin.
Bob spent his early years in Buck's Corner, Savona and Jaysville with his seven siblings attending a one-room schoolhouse, participating in 4-H, and farming. His fondest childhood memories often mention his two horses, Daisy and Maisy.
In his teenage years, he met Onda Fae Hopper, and on Saturday nights would meet with her at the local five and dime, before they married in 1940. Bob was always a fan of cars and machinery, as he proudly owned 34 cars in his lifetime and retired as a tool and die maker from NCR and General Motors. Bob, Onda and their three children built their own house under Bob's leadership on State Route 49. He enjoyed being involved with his children through 4-H, Cub Scouts and Brownies, Rainbow Girls and Demolay Boys, and school activities.
Bob was a bowler an avid golfer, playing his last 18 holes at the age of 89. In 1946, his name was entered on the Wheatie's Breakfast of Champions, Hole-in-One Club Honor Roll in Minneapolis, Minn. During the 1960s, Bob and Onda began to enjoy camping and traveling with local camping clubs and the National Campers and Hikers Association, where he was an active officer. They traveled through all 50 states, into Central America, and the Caribbean. For close to 50 years, they camped at The Great Darke County Fair, where he managed admission at the Grand Stand for 34 years. They were selected as the 2011 Grand Marshalls of the Great Darke County Fair Parade. Together, they enjoyed spending time with Onda's sisters, "the Hopper girls," and their husbands, Ellen and Paul Peters, Patricia and Ralph Pottkotter, Myrna Detling, and Carol and Jim Hart.
Over the years, Bob and Onda frequently attended Fort Jefferson United Methodist Church, functions of area Senior Citizens clubs, dined out with their camping friends and participated in Masonic and Shriners activities.
Bob was a member of the Greenville Masonic Lodge #143; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Dayton where he was a 32nd Degree Mason; Antioch Shrine of Dayton and the Darke County Shrine Club.
The family will receive friends Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Zechar Bailey Funeral Home in Greenville, with a Masonic Memorial Service conducted by the Greenville Masonic Lodge at 7:45 p.m., followed by a Scottish Rite Ring Service at the funeral home.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Hershel Fee officiating. Burial will follow in Greenville Township Memorial Gardens in Darke County. A luncheon will follow graveside services with details announced at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Ft. Jefferson United Methodist Church or the Darke County Shrine Club. Condolences for the family may be expressed through www.zecharbailey.com