December 11, 1943 - January 14, 2017
Terry L. Mathews was born and raised in Beatrice, Nebraska. Even as a young boy and into his high school years, he was interested in agriculture and was part of the 4H club. One of his many loves was fishing and pheasant hunting with his father, Cal, and brother, Randy. The boys spent a lot of time with their dad on these activities. They even helped out at Sunrise Bakery where their father worked as a delivery man. When Cal got sick, the brothers took over his delivery routes, transporting baked goods to local Beatrice stores and residents. Sadly, their father passed away when Terry was a senior in high school.
When Terry attended the University of Nebraska, he majored in Agriculture but had to take a break from college to save money for tuition and help his mother and brother. During that year, he worked at a bank, and when he returned to college, he decided to change his major to Business. After graduating the University of Nebraska, he joined the US Air Force and went to Officer Candidate School in San Antonio, Texas. Attending a New Year’s Day party at his Colonel’s house, he met the colonel’s daughter and future wife, Dee Head. They began dating, and as fate would have it, Terry was transferred to a remote assignment in Alaska for a year. When he volunteered to go to Vietnam, he was stationed there for a year. Then, he requested an assignment in Lubbock, Texas to be close to Dee who was teaching at a local school. Shortly after, Terry & Dee got engaged and were married in San Antonio, Texas in July 1973.
Seven months after their wedding, the US Air Force sent them to Anchorage, Alaska where Terry was the Administrative Officer for the 71st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. He really enjoyed his squadron and all of Alaska’s outdoor activities, like cross-country skiing, salmon fishing, hunting, and teaching Dee to shoot. They loved it there, but after Merynn was born in December 1976, he requested a transfer to North Texas to be closer to both of their families. While stationed in Wichita Falls, they had their second daughter, Micaela, in September 1978.
In 1980, the family began civilian life in Carrollton, Texas. Soon after, Terry started training at the Richardson Post Office. With a permanent assignment in place, the family moved to Richardson in 1986, buying their “forever home”.
Because he really missed Alaska, Terry would return annually for hunting trips. He enjoyed the challenge of crossing Alaskan glaciers, climbing mountains, camping in the wilderness, and spending time with his hunting buddies.
Terry was always such a giving, loving, and considerate man. As a letter carrier, he met all sorts of different people along his routes. His favorites were his “little old ladies”, with whom he chatted and repaired household items. He was also a wonderful family man, going to every activity that he could with his daughters, helping them with their homework, occasionally driving carpool, assisting neighbors, and just being an all-around good guy. After retiring, he even “moved” to San Antonio for over a month to assist his mother-in-law while she was recovering from surgery.
Unfortunately, there was no cure for Terry’s Early Onset Alzheimer’s, so his health slowly, steadily declined. We were lucky to have many good years, where he was able to handle everyday chores and take care of himself. He would even make jokes about himself, like he “forgot” to fold the laundry.
In true Terry-fashion, always thinking of others, he waited to pass until his family had a chance to say good-bye. Only when his wife and daughters were together with him, holding his hands and telling him they loved him, did he take his last breath and join his family and friends in Heaven.
Terry is survived by his wife of nearly 44 years, Dee Mathews, and daughters Merynn Niewinski (John) and Micaela Mathews; grandsons Cade and Garrett Niewinski; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Cal and Hazel (Behrens) Mathews and brother Randy Mathews. The family is appreciative of Terry’s caregivers Ron, Benny, and Elizabeth.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, January 21 at 11:00 AM at Aria Funeral Home, 19310 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75252 with a celebration directly following at his sister/brother-in-law’s home in the neighborhood.
Arrangements are under the direction of:
ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas 75252