GORDON RICHARD (DICK) MATTHEWS
April 20, 1931 – May 6, 2013)
Dick Matthews passed away at home on May 6, 2013, surrounded by his wife of 55 years, Diane, and their 5 children. Always determined, he stared down cancer briefly and then decided not to linger.
A perfect day for Dick started before dawn trolling for salmon in the waters around Salt Spring Island. His crew was Diane, who watched for ferries, his son Gord, and a daughter or two (under duress), and perhaps a son-in-law and a grandchild. He would triumphantly sound the number of fish in the catch on the boat horn on return to the Tin Hut. One long blast of the horn announced that they had been skunked and he was ready for a Caesar.
Dick lived in Aklavik, NWT, until he was 7 years old. His family then settled in Vancouver. He attended Point Grey Junior High, Magee High and UBC. In between football games, soccer games, and dates with Diane, he earned a Bachelor of Arts (Econ.) and a Bachelor of Laws from UBC. He was an excellent athlete, earning Big Block letters in football and soccer. He was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
Dick articled with the law firm Andrews, Swinton & Smith and went on to a successful career as a businessman and a lawyer with Columbia Cellulose, Trans Mountain Pipeline, Rayonier Canada, and Western Forest Products. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, serving as the gunnery officer at HMCS Discovery. He had a huge work ethic at home and in the office.
In 1957 Dick and Diane were married. They built a home in West Vancouver where they raised their children. In 1970 Dick and Diane bought property on Salt Spring Island on which they placed the Tin Hut. The summers were great fun for our family and the friends whom Dick and Diane loved to entertain there. In 2009 the Tin Hut had done its time so Dick and Diane built their dream beach house. The family loves to gather there for special occasions and for ordinary ones.
Dick and Diane loved to golf. They had many enjoyable vacations on Maui, in Palm Dessert, and further afield; some of their favourite holidays were with their good friends Beth and Bob Weese.
Dick loved words: he often invented new words and phrases such as “uggle buggle juice” and “hotchastrosnia”; he had a tendency to unilaterally change the pronunciation of existing words to make them more apt; and he used nicknames for most people (sometimes without their knowledge). He was a genius at crossword puzzles.
Dick was fiercely loyal. His family was extremely important to him. No favour was too big to ask; no support was too great for him to provide. He had broad shoulders and we leaned on them often. He is survived by Diane and their children: Dana (Greig), Leslie (Paul), Nancy, Gordon (Barb) and Sharon (Rob); his grandchildren: Matthews, Gordon, Hayden, Larissa, Christopher, Nicole, Natasha, Mariah and Cruize; nieces and nephews and his cousin, Bill Robertson. He was predeceased by his parents, Gordon and Molly, and his brother, Mike.
We already miss his broad shoulders but we learned from him how to give our own to each other and how to work hard. No gifts could be greater.
A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, 1068 Inglewood Avenue, West Vancouver. A reception in West Vancouver will follow. The family gratefully declines flowers. Those who wish could consider a donation to the BC Cancer Agency or the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation.