James (Jim) Paul Matthews, age 83, passed away on September 29th , 2023, with Karen, his wife of 47 years, by his side.
Jim was born November 7th , 1939, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to William Matthews and Jeanette Bourassa Matthews. He was raised in Pittsfield and at the age of 17 years, 9 days, enlisted in the United States Air Force where he spent twenty-seven years on active duty until he retired as a Senior Master Sergeant, E8, on June 30th , 1983. His notable awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals, and one National Defense Service Medal.
At the time of his retirement from the Air Force, Jim, his wife Karen, and his oldest son, Jim, were all on active duty at the same time, he was very proud of this. His duty assignments included The United Kingdom; France; Korea; Japan; Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York; McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Florida; Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County, Missouri; Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas; Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii; and March Air Force Base in Riverside, California where he retired.
He was most proud of the time spent at Lackland AFB, where from 1972 to 1976 he served in a special duty assignment as a United States Air Force Basic Military Training Instructor. In this role, he was responsible for training close to two thousand young men and women as they made their way from Lackland, known as the “Gateway to the Air Force” and into Air Force ranks.
His primary job in the Air Force was in the office of Personnel Affairs. Where prior to becoming a training instructor, he was a liaison to the family members of Air Force personnel designated as Prisoner of War or as Missing in Action during the Vietnam Conflict. He was tasked with ensuring those families were kept informed and comforted; a heavy burden which he carried with honor.
After retiring from the Air Force, Jim continued to serve in government as a Civil Service employee. During this time, he held positions at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona; at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Japan; and finally at the Military Academy in West Point, New York where he was honored for his 35 years of federal service and retired from government service a second time.
Jim and Karen relocated back to Tucson, Arizona and not content to be idle in retirement, he continued to serve his Tucson and Pima County neighbors as a realtor and at the same time traveled with Karen in their motorhome.
Jim will be remembered for his generosity. Not always did he have, but what he had he was always willing to share. And for this he never wanted to be paid back, instead he only asked that his generosity be paid forward. He’ll also be remembered for his dry and “sometimes” witty sense of humor. He always had a way of settling a situation with one of his adlibbed “dad jokes” which were mostly funny and usually, but not always appropriate.
He is survived by his wife, Karen Matthews of Tucson, Arizona; his oldest son James (Jim) Matthews and his three children, sons, Ryan and Josh, and daughter Rachel, all of Sarasota, Florida; his youngest son Steven (Steve) Matthews and his wife Judy both of Tucson, Arizona; and his sister Shirley Anello and her husband Joseph of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
He is preceded in death by his son Dana Matthews; his father, William Matthews; his mother, Jeanette Bourassa Matthews Gorton; and his brothers, William and Joseph Matthews.
Jim’s interment will be held at 11:45am on Thursday, November 9th , 2023, at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana, 15950 North Luckett Rd Marana, AZ 85653; and also on live stream https://tinyurl.com/JimMatthews110739.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Pima Paws for Life pet rescue and adoptions in Jim’s name https://www.pimapawsforlife.org/donate.html