ó Mr. Charles T. "Pete" Mathews, 87, died Tuesday evening at approximately
10 p.m. at Ashland Hospital. Family members are making funeral
arrangements, and more information will be announced as soon as
possible. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the
Pete Mathews Scholarship Fund, JSU Foundation.
Dr. Bill Meehan
for Mr. Pete Mathews will be Thursday evening, April 7 from
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Benefield Funeral Home on Highway
9 in Ashland. The grave side services will be Friday, April
8 at 1 p.m. at the Ashland City Cemetary.
Cards may be sent to:
Pete Mathews Family
c/o Gerald & Becky Boddie
P. O. Box 261 Ashland, AL 36251
served 38 years on the Jacksonville State University board of
trustees. The board honored Mr. Mathews after his retirement as
a trustee by naming him as "chairman emeritus." He was
the last member of Jacksonville State University's founding board
at the time he stepped down from the governing body on 21 October
2004. He resigned as chairman in 2002. Mr. Mathews served the
university with distinction in various capacities for more than
Born 16 November 1917
in Ashland, Ala., Mr. Mathews enrolled in Jacksonville State Teachers
College in 1935 and graduated with a teaching degree in 1939.
He taught school one year in Munford before deciding to become
Mr. Mathews entered the United States Army at the outbreak of
World War II and served four years. He was stationed in the U.S.
and Canada, assigned to the ordnance works at Brecon (in Talladega,
Ala.), at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds near Baltimore, and at
an ordnance depot in Ontario. He spent most of his wartime service
as a platoon sergeant in charge of basic training. At the end
of his service, he was discharged as a first lieutenant.
Following military life, Mr. Mathews returned to college on the
G.I. Bill and received a law degree from the University of Alabama.
He practiced law in his hometown, Ashland.
After practicing law for ten years, in 1955 Mr. Mathews entered
politics and was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives.
Gov. "Big Jim" Folsom appointed him to rewrite the state's
insurance laws. Over the next 20 years, Mr. Mathews served the
people of Alabama in both the Senate and the House. He was named
Outstanding State Senator by the Alabama Capitol Press's Radio
and Television Corps. He was voted Most Effective Member of the
House of Representatives while serving in that body.
Following his service in the legislature, Mr. Mathews was elected
to the Alabama Public Service Commission, culminating his 24 years
of elective service.
Mr. Mathews served for 19 years as the in-house counsel for the
Alabama Farm Bureau and its insurance company. He also served
as the legislative liaison for the Alabama Retail Association
in both Montgomery and Washington.
The Clay County native was appointed by Gov. Lurleen B. Wallace
to the board of trustees in 1967. Mr. Mathews sponsored the bill
in 1966 that changed the name of his alma mater from Jacksonville
State College to Jacksonville State University. He has served
as president of the Alumni Association and was named Alumnus of
the Year in 1962. He established two funds at JSU totaling $1.5
million for scholarships. Mr. Mathews specified that the funds
would take effect after his death and provide tuition scholarships
in perpetuity, with Clay County students getting first consideration.
The board of trustees honored Mr. Mathews in 1974 by naming the
largest coliseum in northeast Alabama as the Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Years ago the university baseball field was named Pete Mathews
His 36 years on the board of trustees included 20 as president
pro-tem. He announced on 21 October 2002 that he would resign
as chairman and not seek reappointment.
Under his leadership as board chairman, JSU grew in enrollment
and prestige. Mr. Mathews worked with five university presidents
and assisted the institution's growth from a teacherís college
to a university. During Mr. Mathews' time on the board, the university
grew from three-buildings to a busy campus populated by more than
9,000 students. The board of trustees honored Mathews with an
honorary doctorate, which was conferred by President Harold J.
McGee in December 1990.
In announcing his withdrawal from the board in† 2004, Mr. Mathews
told the audience at the trustee meeting, ďAfter 36 years (on
the board) and over half that as the chairman, the time has come
for me to step down and pass the torch. Thatís half a normal manís
lifetime that Iíve been on the board.Ē