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September 2, 1922 - December 18, 2014
Ray Eugene “Gene” Matthews devoted much of his life to serving others. The former President and Chief Executive Officer of First National Bank of Longview, affectionately known to his friends simply as “banker,” was a long time Longview community leader who helped shape the business landscape. He was 92 when he died on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at his home.
Matthews was born in Houston, Texas on September 2, 1922 to Claude and Edwena Matthews. He attended Lamar High School, where in 1940 he led his track team as co-captain to the state track meet in Austin, Texas. After high school, Matthews attended the University of Houston while working at City National Bank of Houston.
In September 1942, he joined the United States Army, and was later transferred to the United States Air force where he attained the rank of Sergeant. While serving in the Air Force he met Eleanor Shaver in Denver, Colorado, and the couple was married in April 1946. Returning to Houston following his discharge in 1946, Matthews returned to his job at City National where he was promoted to assistant cashier. In 1954, he moved his family to Longview to join first National Bank of Longview as a vice president. During his 30 year tenure at First National, Matthews was promoted to President and EO, and later to Chairman of the Board. Upon his retirement from banking, Matthews was duly honored by the City of Longview in 1984 for his long time service to the community.
Matthews dedicated his service to the Longview community through many organizations, holding positions of distinction with each. Most notably, he served as a Director for Good Shepherd Hospital, Chairman of the Board of the Gregg County Appraisal District, President of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, President of Pinecrest Country Club, Director of Longview Rotary Club, and director of the Cherokee Club. Matthews also dedicated his time as a member of the City of Longview Planning Board, First United Methodist Church, and little league baseball.
He loved playing golf and fishing. He was runner-up in the 1953 AIB Bank Tournament in Houston and won the Senior Alpine Golf Club Tournament in Longview once. He made seven holes in one over his lifetime.
Claude and Edwena Matthews
He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Eleanor Matthews, and his companion of eight years, Sarah Bronstad.
Matthews is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Lee Ray and Fayla Matthews; daughter and son-in-law, Lanelle and Daniel Smith; son and daughter-in-law, Bryan and Karen Matthews; grandchildren, Kyle Smith, Drew Matthews, Melissa Matthews, Bryce Matthews; great grandchildren, Paisely, Brody, Kamryn and Aiden; brother, William "Billy Matthews of Houston.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 400 N. Fredonia, Longview, TX 75601.
Rader Funeral Home - Longview
1617 Judson Road
Rader Funeral Home - Longview
Sunday December 21st, 2014
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Rader Funeral Home Chapel - Longview
Monday December 22nd, 2014
Dr. Roy James