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James Matson

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James Matson Obituary
James Monroe Matson

It is with much sadness that we announce the death of a most compassionate, gifted, courageous, and gentle man. Jim passed away peacefully and with dignity on May 22, 2010 in San Antonio. He died as he wished in his own time, in the care of hospice, alert, and pain-free. James Monroe Matson, along with his twin brother, Jerry Allison Matson was born August 26, 1925 in Norse, Texas, a small Norwegian farming community west of Waco. Jerry died of diphtheria, when they were eight. This loss left an emotional hole in Jim's heart that continued into adulthood. Jim was first and foremost a Christian of strong faith and a dedicated servant of our Lord. He was born to the late Fred and Effie Colwick Matson. He was a member, up to adulthood of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, in Norse. He was a graduate of Clifton High School. At age 7, he was stricken with mumps that produced a blood stream infection that destroyed his hip joints. For three years, he faced several painful surgeries that failed to correct his mobility problems. He became dependent on wheelchairs, braces and crutches. With the help of orthopedic shoes, he was finally able to walk, but with a significant limp and badly damaged self-esteem. Fortunately, he had a mother who, according to Jim, pulled him away from his "pity party", and shifted his attention to his positive attributes. This emphasis on recognizing strengths would remain a building block that led to Jim's business success in later years. Following graduation from Port Arthur College, Jim began his career as a radio engineer for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Later, he moved to San Antonio to accept a position as an engineer for WOAI Radio in San Antonio. He married the late Dolores Minyard and this union produced three daughters. In 1966, Jim founded Matson Multi-Media, an audio-visual production facility. He expanded in 1979 to include video production and later moved the corporation into DVD and digital formatting. In 1996, Jim won the National Blue Chip Enterprise Award from Nations Business Magazine beating over 600 other entries for his visionary marketing innovations. He was the first recipient of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Small Business Leader of the Year award. He won the Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in 2002. He was the first recipient of the Career Achievement award from the American Marketing Association in 2008. Goodwill Industries created their Inspiration Award in honor of Jim in 2009. Other awards, too numerous to mention followed Jim throughout his career. Jim was known for dedicating a percentage of his advertising budget to struggling non-profits. His expertise in board development placed him in demand by various organizations for a seat on their board. He served as Chairman of the Board, Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, board member of Goodwill International, North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, The Optimist Club of San Antonio, Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital Foundation, SAMM Ministries, Texas Lutheran University Business Department, and the San Antonio Low Vision Club. He was a member of Madison Square Presbyterian Church and served as ruling elder. In 1972, he married Karen Fischer Matson and this marriage produced a son, Morgan M. Matson. Jim, first and foremost loved to serve others and was a mentor for a special group of business women, known as the "Magnificent 11" for over 15 years. They met monthly over lunch. He loved these ladies and said he received more from them than he ever gave. It would have been easy for Jim to answer the siren calls of self-indulgence and victimhood. Yet through the grace and guidance of his mother, he lived his life with humility, and a sense of purpose and compassion for those less fortunate. We mourn him for the child he was, and the man he became. His two brothers, Jerry and Lloyd, and two sisters, June and Carol Nell, preceded him in death. A sister, Nadine Matson Heid, survives Jim. He leaves behind three lovely daughters, Judy Forbrich, Melissa Matson, Amy Ritchey, a devoted son, Morgan Matthew Matson, seven grandchildren, Cherie, Vanessa, Jeremiah, Jonathan, Ian, Ryan, and Colin, and six great grandchildren. Jim leaves behind a whole gaggle of Matson and Colwick cousins, nieces and nephews. At his request, Jim wants his ashes to be sprinkled over Jerry's gravesite. A service celebrating his extraordinary life is scheduled for 11 o'clock this Saturday at Madison Square Presbyterian Church, 319 Camden, San Antonio, Texas 78215. Jim requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to charities of your choice.
Published in Express-News on May 26, 2010
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