William L. Matthews

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

William L. Matthews was born June 22, 1939 in Monticello, to Junior Matthews and Rebecca Sanders. He had a loving stepfather, Nelson Cochran. He departed this life on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 at his home.

William graduated from Drew High School in Monticello in 1957. After high school, he attended AM&N College, Pine Bluff, graduating with a bachelor's degree. During the 1970s, he was a National Science Foundation scholar in the summers studying science in River Falls, Wis., several summers and one summer in Berkeley, Calif. He attended Arkansas State University and received an MSE degree in School Administration and later post-graduate study.

In his career he worked as a teacher, coach, and principal in the Arkansas public school systems for 35 years, two years in California, and one year in Tennessee always mentoring and promoting education. During the school integration era, he was instrumental in assisting students in a smooth transition from Harrison High School to Blytheville High School. He was one of the first two African-American teachers at Blytheville High School. He held membership in the National Education Association, the Arkansas Education Association and the Mississippi County Retired School Personnal Association.

On Dec. 23, 1962, he married Excie Darrough, his high school sweetheart. The marriage lasted for 56 years. To this union was born three sons. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Time outside was a pleasure of his, especially working in the yard.

He confessed hope in Christ at a young age at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Monticello. He was a member of New St. Paul Baptist Church where he served as a deacon. Over the years he had served as a choir member, Sunday School superintendent, and usher. He was a lover of the study of God's Word.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, James, and two sisters, Louise and Darlene.

Survivors left to cherish his memories are his devoted wife, Excie Darrough Matthews; three sons, Greg Matthews of Blytheville, Rodney Matthews of Blytheville, and Byron (Janice) Matthews of Richmond, Vir.; seven grandsons, Rodney (Shaquita), Jeremy (Marlena), Greg, Zacharias, William, Byron Charles, and Colin; six great-grandchildren, Na'Lia, Jeremyh, Noah, Rodney, Nathan, and Grayson; a nephew Frederick Harden of Beebe; a niece, Tara Mallett of Milwaukee, Wis.; a sister, Jerry (Charlie) Smith of Monticello; a brother-in-law, James Darrough; and a host of cousins, other extended family and friends.

The visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at New St. Paul M.B. Church in Blytheville. The funeral will be held the next day at 12 noon Oct. 18, also at New St. Paul M.B. Church in Blytheville, with Rev. Clark Phillips officiating. The burial will held at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Blytheville. Services are provided by Wilson Funeral Home Blytheville.