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Pete Mathews
16 November 191805 April 2005

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6 April 2005 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.

UPDATE
Statement from
Dr. Bill Meehan
Visitation 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

Mr. Mathews 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 60 years.

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 a lawyer.

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 Field.

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

 




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