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Walter L. Mathews

January 28, 1949 - September 15, 2022
Portage, MI


Life Story / Obituary


As his family and friends can attest, Walter Mathews had a zest for life that was contagious. Spending time with his family and friends meant the world to him. It was easy to see that Walt was married to the love of his life, and together they shared so many of the best experiences that life has to offer through their travels.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young servicemen and women had answered the call to serve during WWII. Those who remained stateside patiently waited for the latest news from the front lines while rationing on common goods such as paper, coffee, and canned goods became a way of life. It was during this eventful time that proud parents Wilbur and Neta (Cubitt) Mathews welcomed the birth of their baby boy on January 28, 1949, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born the youngest of three boys, Walt learned how to manage his older brothers with his little cowboy boots or “shit kickers”.

Walt received his education from Parchment Schools and started work with the Railroad before following the same patriotic calling of other young men of the time and enlisting in the U.S. Army. He proudly served during the Vietnam War aboard, earning the National Defense Service Medal.

Walt was in his early 20s when he married his first wife, Mary Bleeker, and they had a beautiful daughter together, Danielle. Unfortunately, their marriage later ended in divorce. Then in 1980, Walt found love again when he met Darrelyn, and romance blossomed between the two. Darrelyn also brought her two daughters, Dawn and Heather, into the relationship, and Walt was only too happy to welcome them to the family. The couple made their home together in Parchment and were happily married on November 10, 1984, at the Peoples Church. They later moved to Portage on Austin Lake, where they have resided for the last 2 years.

Besides being a devoted husband and father, Walt was an excellent provider for his family, working for over 42 years at the Railroad and working his way up the ranks to a Railroad conductor. There he ran his own railway yard. After retiring from Norfolk Southern Railway in 2009, Walt put his skills to work around the house, maintaining the yard, and fixing the best breakfast anyone could ask for. He also loved to spend time traveling with family, watching some of his favorite shows on TV, and snacking on some sweets.

When reflecting on the life of Walter Mathews, his unconditional love for his family and close friends shines through. He was a sweet, loving man who was always selflessly giving of his time and resources in support of his loved ones. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Walt was proud to embrace the family as it grew. Deeply loved, Walt will never be forgotten.

Walter Lee Mathews, of Portage, age 73, died on September 15, 2022. Walter was preceded in death by his brother, Wilbur Jr. Surviving are his wife, Darrelyn; children: Danielle (Doug) Howard, Dawn (Ryan) Wilson, and Heather (Jessy) Hudson; grandchildren: Minnie, Kaley, DJ, Grayson, Jacob (Jessica) Newnum, and Hayden; siblings: Robert (Nona) Mathews; as well as many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Visit Walt’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.