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Richard Nelson Matthews

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Richard Nelson Matthews Obituary
August 6, 1938 - October 28, 2017 Richard (Dick) Nelson Matthews, 79, Executive, Philanthropist, Human Rights Advocate. Richard (Dick) Nelson Matthews, who was Vice President of Communications for Carnation Company, and later Nestle Corporation, died October 28, 2017, at his home in Cathedral City, California. He was 79 years old. Matthews and his wife, Anita, raised two daughters, Gaylen Beatty of Portland, Oregon, and Jessica Matthews of Fairbanks, Alaska. Richard's boisterous laughter and positive outlook were his trademarks. He worked for Carnation Company (later Nestle) in Los Angeles for over twenty-five years, retiring in 1990 as Vice President of Communications. Richard grew up in Barstow, California, and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Communications. During his adolescence, he spent many summers exploring American Fork Canyon with his siblings and cousins. His love of the outdoors, travel and adventure followed him well into adulthood, where he took many extended summers off from work to take his young family camping in the western United States and Canada. Richard could be found most weekends riding dirt bikes with his brothers in the high desert, spending time at the lake, or riding his Harley Davidson with his beloved service dog, Dwight, in the sidecar. Richard spent much of his adult life in Glendale, where he was involved with public service and community organizations. A strong believer in government transparency and accountability, he ran for local city council and the school board multiple times in the mid to late 1980s. In recognition of his dedication to his alma mater, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Utah School of Communications. In high school and college, Richard was active in theatrical productions, and often had the lead. Throughout his adulthood, he continued to enjoy all the arts had to offer, and was well versed in opera, ballet, classical music and composers. His favorite musical piece was Johann Strauss' operetta, Die Fledermaus (The Bat), and often took his family to various musical events at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl. He enjoyed going to the Pasadena Rose Parade, and every New Years would take his family to cheer on the Carnation float as it turned east onto Colorado Boulevard. Richard was an exceptional writer and poet, and authored many screenplays. Active in a variety of charitable and human rights organizations in Southern California, Richard was a major contributor and member of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and strong supporter of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Challenged with significant hearing loss, Richard was a strong advocate for the disabled, and was both a user and supporter of Cochlear Implants. After retirement, Matthews joined California's Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program's Relay Service Advisory Committee, and served as President of the Self-Help for Hard of Hearing People Board of Trustees from 1999-2001. While Vice President at Carnation, Richard hosted a luncheon for Rosa Parks, and often remarked meeting her was a highlight of his life. He was deeply moved when Coretta Scott King nodded in approval during a speech he gave in Washington DC about equality and respect for one's fellow man. Richard was profoundly influenced by American author and humorist, Norman Cousins, and believed strongly in the healing power of laughter. As a mentor, Richard's great strength was a deep and lasting rapport with those who fell under his wing. He warmed any room he entered, and his enduring sense of humor, generosity, and prose will be missed by those whose lives he touched. Richard is survived by his wife, caregiver and friend Peter, two daughters, five grandchildren, his brothers James and John, sisters Joyce and Lisa, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Richard was preceded in death by his father, John Richard Matthews and mother Thelma Sarah Matthews, and his cherished service dog Dwight. Richard is interred at the Court of David at Forest Lawn Mortuary and Cemetery in Glendale, California. Funeral services were held November 18, 2017.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 19, 2018
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