Remembering Bill Matthews by David Bowering and Barbara Jorgenson

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It’s a more than a week now that Bill Matthews died. We hadn’t seen Bill in several months, but we were stunned to hear he was gone.

For both of us, Bill was always the guy we trusted. We met Bill when we were searching for a home here some 12 years ago. Bill appeared one day with his life partner, Nancy McGuire, who was showing us houses.

The discussion that day was about termites. The home inspector said he found some old termite evidence in the basement but couldn’t quite tell if it had been addressed. Bill strode into the dining room, pulled back a large oriental carpet, and began bouncing on the floor. “Hasn’t been repaired,” Bill said, as the floorboards waffled up and down. We were aghast—as was Nancy. The floor was ultimately repaired due to Bill’s on-the-spot discovery, and we bought the house.

Nancy and Bill became good friends. We shared many fine meals and evenings together, not to mention World Cup soccer matches cheering for Bill’s Brazil or David’s England. When we traveled, Bill was our “emergency contact” for our house-sitters. “Don’t worry, I’ll be there,” he said, insisting that we leave his home, office, and cell numbers with our sitters.

Then Bill did the best thing of all. He rid our neighborhood of bad college kids—not all college kids, just the bad ones. We had been plagued with three houses of very unruly, very obnoxious college boys for three years. Calls to the landlords didn’t help. Calls to the Town didn’t help. Calls to the police didn’t help. Calls to the college didn’t help. Visits to Town Council didn’t help. Then Bill took over as rental agent first for one house, then two, then all three. He found a family for one house. He screened the college residents of the other two, taking only kids with good grades and impressing on them (as only an imposing guy of 6 foot two can) that no nonsense would be tolerated. It worked! Our street went from an unrestricted party zone on the weekends to a lovely street inhabited by a mixture of ages and families, where the college kids even shoveled the snow for us.

Maybe none of these things qualified Bill for the Nobel Peace Prize, but he was a terrific friend who made a real difference to those of us who had the privilege of knowing him.

And we forgot to mention, Bill loved dogs—big ones, little ones, fat ones, and skinny ones. We are sure he has a dog in Heaven.

William P. Matthews died August 10, 2018. He was 66 years old. The Bill Matthews Fund has been established in his loving memory at the Humane Society for Kent County to pay special medical expenses for surrendered dogs. Contributions can be made to the Society, P.O. Box 352, Chestertown, MD 21620.

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Letters to Editor

  1. jenifer endicott emley says:

    This is a touching note about a very sweet man. Thank you for posting, Barbara and David.
    My heart goes out to Nancy and all of Bill’s family.

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