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Died – Loss of life – Obituary : Martin Mathews, who taught kids the suitable means for many years, dies at 97 #Martin #Mathews #taught #kids #many years #dies



Died – Loss of life – Obituary

Martin Mathews, who taught kids the suitable means for many years, dies at 97

ST. LOUIS — Martin Mathews, who co-founded the Mathews-Dickey Boys & Women Membership right here that has helped form the lives of tons of of hundreds of North Aspect kids since 1960, died Tuesday at Evelyn’s Home, a hospice in Creve Coeur.

Mathews, of Creve Coeur, was 97.

For many years, Mathews was one of many best-known people in St. Louis.

He was celebrated by then-Presidents Ronald Reagan and Invoice Clinton, frolicked with baseball Corridor of Famer James “Cool Papa” Bell, mentored kids who grew as much as grow to be skilled athletes and rubbed elbows with media celebrities, politicians and CEOs.

The membership, positioned on North Kingshighway close to Interstate 70, is a secure haven for teenagers to play sports activities, work on growing their teachers and develop life abilities.

Mathews was identified for working lengthy hours on the membership, which has offered tutors, pc coaching and after-school actions along with its varied sports activities applications.

The girls and boys are 5 to 18.

After college, he hauled them to the membership in a van. He tuned the radio to the music they needed. He required kids who performed on the membership’s baseball groups to point out proof of excellent grades. He talked to them and listened.

Even kids who had gotten into bother with medication or a combat confided in him.

“Youngsters are going to inform me what I wish to know,” he informed the Publish-Dispatch in 2008. “I do know what’s occurring within the houses, locally, within the faculties. They’re going to inform you all the things.”

Mathews grew up within the southeast Missouri cities of Neelyville and Poplar Bluff earlier than his household moved to St. Louis. In Poplar Bluff, he stop college in his senior yr at Wheatley Excessive Faculty to assist his household earn a residing.

For a time, he performed semi-pro baseball and labored as a supervisor for a protection subcontractor. In 1957, he was requested to assist a workforce with no coach and accepted.

Because the story goes, sooner or later in 1960 he and Hubert “Dickey” Ballentine, a U.S. Postal Service mail handler, met beneath a shade tree in Useful Park in St. Louis. They talked about how you can assist maintain younger males on the taking part in fields and off the streets.

At first, Mathews and Ballentine managed to function about 75 baseball groups with none dwelling for the membership. In the meantime, Mathews was nonetheless working at Burkart Randall, a division of Textron Inc., whereas he and his spouse, Barbara, who died in 1997, raised 5 daughters.

The membership received some cash from Union Electrical (now Ameren) for baseball and soccer uniforms and another donations.

Their massive break got here in 1968 when Mathews approached Al Fleishman, a founding father of FleishmanHillard, the powerhouse public relations agency that represented many of the city’s movers and shakers.

Would Fleishman be taken with serving to out the Mathews-Dickey Membership, Mathews requested.

In keeping with membership historical past, the reply was abrupt and destructive. However weeks later, Fleishman invited Mathews to lunch. Fleishman helped elevate $25,000 to get a storefront workplace on Pure Bridge Avenue that grew to become the membership’s first facility.

Extra importantly, he launched Mathews to August “Gussie” Busch Jr. of Anheuser-Busch Inc.

“He gained the boldness of quite a lot of neighborhood leaders,” the late Martin Duggan, former editorial web page editor of the outdated Globe-Democrat newspaper, mentioned of Mathews.

Mathews enlisted a star-studded board of 56 administrators, together with millionaires, CEOs, newscasters and two St. Louis hearth chiefs.

“He’s a heck of a promoter,” mentioned Duggan, who later hosted Channel 9’s “Donnybrook” present. “I don’t know that he was ever turned down.”

In later years, the membership obtained main contributions from the brewery, Ameren, Brown Shoe (now Caleres), Centene, Clayco, Coca-Cola, Energizer, former Cardinals supervisor Tony LaRussa, Nestle, Schnuck Markets, Enterprise and US Financial institution. In a single 10-year interval, the United Method gave the membership a complete of practically $4 million.

In 1982, Reagan awarded Mathews and Ballentine the Presidential Residents Award and declared the membership a mannequin for the whole nation.

In 1986, the membership began its first program for ladies. The membership has supplied applications geared toward stamping out illiteracy and motivating gang members to hitch extracurricular actions.

In 2000, the membership turned 40 and Coca-Cola celebrated with a commemorative, eight-ounce glass that offered greater than 60,000 bottles in space Schnucks shops. That yr, the membership modified its identify to Mathews-Dickey Boys & Women Membership. Co-founder Ballentine died in 2000 at age 88.

In 2007, the Cardinals hosted an on-field ceremony at Busch Stadium at which Edward Jones introduced a $500,000 present. Mathews took the sphere together with then-Cardinals President Mark Lamping and supervisor LaRussa.

In 2007, the membership accomplished a $2 million-plus renovation of its amenities.

In 2009, Mathews visited a college in Mississippi, to ship 500 stuffed ebook baggage to deserving college students, who responded by performing a “Rappin’ Historical past” tribute to membership alumnus and recording star Jamie “King James” Dennis.

Mathews effectively into his 80s continued to spend lengthy hours on the membership. “It’s important to end the course,” he informed the Publish-Dispatch in 2008. “There’s a lot on the market to be finished.”

Final yr, the membership merged with the Boys & Women Golf equipment of Better St. Louis, with Mathews-Dickey maintaining its identify, location and youth sports activities applications with baseball, soccer, basketball and aquatics within the combine.

Funeral preparations are pending. Among the many survivors are 4 daughters and three grandchildren.

This text was up to date at 4:45 p.m.

Reporting by Michael Sorkin, previously of the Publish-Dispatch, and Mark Schlinkmann of the Publish-Dispatch.

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Martin Mathews, who taught kids the suitable means for many years, dies at 97

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