Ray Mathews, 86, of Marion Township, Harrisville, passed away Sunday evening, following a two-year illness.
Ray was born Feb. 26, 1929, in Dayton, Pa., to Paul and Flossie Hallman Kerr. Ray was raised by his aunt, Edna Mathews Hope. He married his high school sweetheart, Ruth M. Matthews on March 21, 1949.
He attended McKeesport Area High School, before moving to Clemson University. Ray was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 1951 NFL Draft and in 1952, he was the teams leading rusher with 315 yards on 66 carries. He led the Steelers in receiving in three straight seasons.
Ray played in 108 games with the Steelers and he also held the franchise record for the longest reception, 78 yards, and most touchdowns in a game, 4.
In 1978, he was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame; in 1979, he was inducted in the PA Sports Hall of Fame; and in 2007, Ray was named to the Pittsburgh Steelers Legends team.
Following retirement from professional football, he was an assistant coach for the Washington Redskins and the Calgary Stampeders. He was a teacher at Braddock High School and later worked in many different areas of employment to provide for his family.
Throughout his life one of his great loves was farming, especially raising horses. As a young man he spent most summers working on his uncle's farm in Dayton, Pa.
In 1978, Ray moved his family back to Western Pennsylvania, and he became a restaurant owner, when he purchased the Pines Restaurant in Springfield Township, now known as My Brothers Place, and he achieved his lifelong aspiration at the same time when he purchased the family farm in Marion Township.
Ray enjoyed his life, but mostly he enjoyed being with his family and close friends. He was a member of the Barkeyville United Methodist Church.
Survivors include, his wife, at home; five children, Catherine Wilson of Harrisville, Ray (Pam) Mathews Jr. of Branford, Conn., John (Mary) Mathews of Harrisville, Timothy L. (Shelley) Mathews of Mercer and Jenny (Mark) Pryor of Mercer; 10 grandchildren, Tabitha Wilson, Mathew Wilson, Bret Wilson, Myra Odenwaelder, Amanda Mock, Bobby Mathews, Raychelle Pedersen, Justine Ferguson, Luke Pryor and Logan "Joe" Pryor; and nine great-grandchildren.
His parents and one brother, Robert Kerr, preceded him in death.
MATHEWS - The family of Ray Mathews, who died Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Cunningham Funeral Home, 306 Bessemer Ave., Grove City.
A private family funeral will be Wednesday at the funeral home.
Memorials in Ray's memory may be made to any organizations that involves Alzheimer's disease or the National FFA Organization.
Published by Butler Eagle on Dec. 24, 2015.