Stillwater News Press


September 10, 2013

Paul William Matthews

Paul William Matthews, 81, passed away on Sept. 8, 2013, in Nichols Hills. He was born in Joplin, Mo., on Jan. 3, 1932, the son of Paul Newman Matthews and Bernice Sutton Matthews. He spent his early life in Neosho, Mo., before moving to Miami, and then to Guymon, where he graduated from high school. Paul entered Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) and majored in political science. He was active in campus politics, president of the Independent Party for two years, elected to the College Board of Publications and president of the Young Republicans for two years. He was a member of Pi Gamma Mu, national social science honor society. He met the love of his life, Rita Copeland, at her Kappa Delta sorority house.

He graduated from Oklahoma A & M in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was commissioned a second lieutenant. Following military service at Ft. Bragg, N.C., Paul entered chamber of commerce management in Mendota, Ill., and Kenosha, Wis. He received his organization management degree from Michigan State University and then entered trade association management with the National Highway Users Federation in 1962 and served the National Federation until early retirement in 1993. Paul was regional director of the HUF for the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and New Mexico. He continued to serve as executive director for the Oklahoma Federation following retirement and also served as legislative director of the Oklahoma State Grange.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and his wife of 57 years, Rita. He is survived by his son Douglas Arthur Matthews and wife Judith of Glen Carbon, Ill.; son David Sutton Matthews and wife Laurie of Dallas; grandchildren Kenneth of Los Angeles, Calif., Kevin of Denver, Colo., Jackson, Travis, Michael, and Erica all of Glen Carbon, Ill., Ian, Stewart, and Sarah Rose of Dallas, and great-granddaughter Olivia Ann.

Paul has served as president of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives, president of the Oklahoma City/County Historical Society, president of the Highland Hills Neighborhood Association. Paul served on the Board of the Oklahoma Historical Society for seven years, and chaired the Lake Michigan Area OSU club. He served on the executive committee of the Oklahoma County Republican Party. He also served as sheriff of the Indian Territory Posse of Oklahoma Westerners, the Oklahoma City Civil War Roundtable, and the OKC Economic Roundtable.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday at the Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Paul W. Matthews Endowed Scholarship Fund; P.O. Box 1749; Stillwater, OK 74076. Online donations may be made at


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