Charles R. Mathews, M.D.
Charles R. Mathews, M.D., died at home on May 23, 2011. He is survived by his loving wife, Frances Dwyer, five daughters, Margaret Rose, Carolyn, Monica, Angela and Mary plus three stepsons, Mark, Matthew and Michael Sylvester. Also many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Dr. Mathews was born in Norman Oklahoma on Jan 31,1923, to Grady F. and Lillian Faye Mathews, the second of three brothers. He grew up in Oklahoma, where he obtained his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1945. He then moved to Rochester, N.Y., for his post-doctoral residencies and fellowships.
He had two years of active duty as a Flight Surgeon with USAF 1946-48, but returned to Rochester, to continue his fellowships. He was in private practice in Rochester 1952-1972 - during those years his practice evolved into pulmonary and critical care medicine; he also was on the faculty of the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He was active in organized medicine, and in 1961 was elected president of the thousand member county medical society in Rochester. In 1966 he was a participant in President Lyndon Johnson's White House Conference on the Implementation of Medicare.
In 1972 he moved from Rochester to Sarasota, Florida, where he set up his practice in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He founded a multi-physician group, Pulmonary Associates. This group was the outstanding, leading pulmonary medicine group in SW Florida. Dr. Mathews was on the clinical faculty of the USF School of Medicine, in Tampa. He was elected Chief of the Medical Staff sequentially at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. In 1984, Dr. Mathews left his pulmonary medicine group, to set up and develop the first office of Vice President for Medical Affairs at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
In Nov. 1989 Dr. Mathews took on a major challenge, as chief medical officer the Florida Department of Corrections, continuing until his departure in Nov 1998. Florida's prison system was the fourth largest in the country. Throughout his tenure, he visited frequently every one of the major institutions, of which there were 68 at that time. During his tenure at DOC, inmate health care in Florida's large prison system was developed into one of the best in the nation.
He and his wife, Frances Dwyer, moved to Tallahassee in 1989, where they have happily remained. Throughout his medical career, Dr. Mathews has had a special interest in providing health care for the medically underserved and indigent. For nine years, he and his R.N. wife were volunteers, providing primary care to patients at Neighborhood Health Services. He was instrumental in arranging for dental services to be provided to the medically indigent through the We Care Program of the Capital Medical Society. He organized the Capitol City Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. He was active in the local medical society and other organizations. Recognitions include Volunteer of the Year , Neighborhood Health Services 2004, Silver Star Award, Tallahassee Senior Center 2006, Humanitarian Award, Capital Medical Society, 2007.
Dr. Mathews has been an avid bicyclist, most of his adult life. He commuted to office and hospitals by bicycle, in Rochester and in Florida. He organized the Sarasota Bicycle Club in 1974, and has been active with the Capitol City Cyclists. Wife Frances also is a bicyclist, and they often rode their tandem, locally as well as on their world-wide travels. Dr. Mathews enjoyed singing: he was a founding member of the Rochester Oratorio Society, and studied voice at Rochester's Eastman School of Music. He continued singing in various choruses through much of his adult life - his last public vocalization was in Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" with the Tallahassee Community Chorus in 2005.
Memorial donations may be made to the Florida State University College of Medicine Geriatrics studies, or to the We Care program of the Capital Medical Society.
A memorial service will be announced.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on May 24, 2011.