Mary Louise Matthews is celebrating her 100th birthday today with family (including her son Jef who turns 75 the same day) and friends at a luncheon in Tucson.
She was born May 2, 1917 in Cleveland, of Austria-Hungary/Ukrainian immigrant parents who collected strip-mall properties during the Depression (and after) in Cleveland and Miami, Florida.
She married her college sweetheart, John Heil Matthews (son of a new car dealer, who became a new car dealer himself in Ohio and Arizona) in 1940 after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Education from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Son, J. Jefrey, was Mary’s 25th birthday present from John in 1942 and second son, Peter Craig, was born in November, 1944.
While living in Delaware from 1940 to 1958, Mary was very active in many civil endeavors; among them in those years, she was President of the Jane M. Case Hospital Auxiliary Board and was credited with the four-fold expansion of that hospital (now Grady Memorial), President of the Children’s Home Board, etc. She was also active in the Monday Club, the Bridge Club and the Saturday Night Crowd.
They then moved to Arizona because of Jef’s respiratory problem In Arizona, Mary became an expert in Native Arizona Indian arts and crafts and was active in The Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Museum of Northern Arizona. She played an active role in managing Southern Arizona School and The Valley School for Girls for several years.
Today, she still lives in the house she and John built in 1963 in the Catalina Foothills north of Tucson, and reads about a book a day, does daily crossword puzzles, spreadsheet accounting and feeds 200 pounds of birdseed monthly to her myriad varieties of wild bird neighbors.