James Waldo Matchette
1936 - 2020
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James Waldo Matchette

Phoenix - On November 8th, 2020 James Waldo Matchette, DVM, Col (USAF Reserves), made his Final Flight and flew west (with his Vet bag) to touch the hand of God.

Jim was born Jan 10, 1936 outside Swayzee, IN, to Ada Rachel Baker Matchette and Henry Waldo Matchette. He grew up in the Swayzee area and graduated from Swayzee High School. After high school, Doc went to Purdue University, graduating with Honors as a Distinguished Graduate, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force. November 1957, the Colonel began his 31-year Air Force career as a Fighter Pilot, Amphibious Pilot and a Helicopter Pilot.

After nearly six years flying the F-100 Nuclear Capable Fighter Jet, he transitioned to the Indiana Air National Guard in Terre Haute, IN where he flew the F-84. Jim entered Purdue University, School of Veterinary Medicine receiving his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine as the top clinician and Distinguished Graduate. He married Diane (Dee) Malstrom in 1964 and welcomed Joseph Scott, Peter William, and Rebecca Lynn.

After Vet School, Jim moved to Arizona to start practicing veterinary medicine. Upon arriving in Phoenix, he joined Air Force Reserves as a member of the 302d Air Rescue Squadron. He initially flew the amphibious HU-16 aircraft before the unit transitioned to helicopters in 1971.

Jim assumed command of the 302d Special Operations Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The "Old Man" commanded until Jan 1984; at which time he was promoted to Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. That ended his love affair with the Jolly Green Giant H-3 helicopter. Doc served as the Air Force State Preparedness Liaison Officer at the Arizona State National Guard Headquarters. He retired April 1, 1988 where he received the Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation medal, and the Arizona Commendation Medal.

Jim's wife Dee passed and he married Sandy in 1991 until she held his hand while he took his last breath.

Jim retired from Veterinary practice in 2002, ending a long and successful run with his partner Bill Welty. He and Sandy spent their time with family and friends at their cabin in Munds Park, AZ enjoying hunting, fishing, skiing, and traveling.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Diane, and his son Peter. He is survived by his wife Sandra Matchette, son Joseph, daughter Rebecca, step-daughters Jennifer and Julie; grandchildren Anthony, Brittany, Nathan, Brittany, Michelle, James, Josephine, Kylie and Will; great grandchildren Landon, Jesse, and Graelynn; siblings Jane, Susan and John.

Jim requested NO FLOWERS and preferred donations for the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Waterhole Projects, PO Box 21705, Mesa, AZ 85277 (or online at https://adbss.org/ In Memory of Jim Matchette), the Deer Valley Lions Club, Attn: Darrell Sawyer, 5801 N 38th Place, Paradise Valley, AZ 85283, or Salvation Army Citadel Corps, 628 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003. Services are currently pending, please refer to www.heritagefuneralchapels.com for further information.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Nov. 12 to Nov. 15, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
November 19, 2020
Jim was the best Vet that ever lived. I have searched for years to find a guy that could come close to how super special he made our pets and of course us feel. Peter was my student in grade school and we just had a terrific connection. I was devastated to lose him. I follow Becky and her family with great interest. She followed her dad in the business and when she is ready to go back to work, I'l be there!
Please know that I am so so sorry for this loss. May you RIP Jim, I hope you can touch the face of God. I will see you there, I promise.
Candy Trimble
November 19, 2020
Jim was a kind, funny, loving, man. Enjoy our time out on the deck in Munds Park, Jim and Sandy telling funny and serious stories. He always had a smile or laughing. He had enjoyed his life and loved his Family. You are truly missed already. RIP!
Pat Abbotts
November 17, 2020
Jim was a great man, always had a joke and a smile. We will miss him
daniel & Karen Abbotts
November 17, 2020
So many fond memories of our dear Uncle Jim. No one can tell a joke like he could! He will be truly missed, Cheers Uncle ❤
Allison Dunmire
November 15, 2020
Oh, how our hearts ache, Sandy! Can 2020 get any worse? We are so sorry to hear of Jim's passing and your great, great loss! Jim will always remain a hero in our hearts. It was such a privilege to help him construct his autobiography and certainly increased our admiration of the leadership he provided in his military commands and social networks. Surely he serves as a model of a great American who served his country with pride and honor.

May God bless you and yours always and in all ways with the healing memories of the many contributions Jim made to your lives and those of so many others--including ours.

With great sympathy and fondness,
Ron and Gayle Gadus
Ron and Gayle Gadus
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