This is my dear Daddy. He passed away Monday, August 10th 2009. I miss him so very much.
Ray Freed Matthew
Ray was born in a small town called North Zulch, Texas on May 10, 1933. At five months old, he was adopted by a loving couple, Ray and Elmer Matthew and grew up in Houston. He had countless tales of growing up with his mom and dad, and a neighbor who loved him like a son. Growing up, Ray did a lot of handyman work for his neighbor to help him out.
Ray joined the Air Force in the fifties, and spent much of his time behind a typewriter. After leaving the Air Force, he eventually became an electrician working out of the Local 716 in Houston, until he retired. He has told many interesting stories about all the places he worked as an electrician, including the Houston Astrodome and the Pentagon in Washington DC. He really enjoyed electrical work, and this shows up in his house he built himself, because there are plugs and switches everywhere.
He moved to Conroe in 1968, where he built a home for his family. He wasn’t the best carpenter, but this didn’t deter his determination to have his own house in the country, away from the rat-race of the city.
Ray was a very easy-going guy and as laid-back as anyone could ever be. He was so laid back that he was sometimes thought of as a procrastinator. But this procrastination was simply Ray taking the time in his life to enjoy the small, simple things that made him happy. Some of these things were: Going to the corner store every day to get a breakfast burrito and a Conroe Courier; Reading western novels; Watching Channel 11 news, Wheel of Fortune, John Wayne movies and Mash on TV; Watching Astros baseball games. He also worked the daily crossword in the Courier, sometimes calling his daughter at work for assistance and to tease her a little.
It is hard to say what his favorite food was, but he had a special place in his heart for: banana pudding, meatloaf, grilled hot dogs, SOS (we all know what that means), and barbeque. He wasn’t a fussy eater, being laid back in that category too. If he really liked a food, he called it “more-ish” because he was going back for more.
After he retired from the IBEW, he had a woodworking shop built and filled it with a lot of tools, and later a lot of sawdust, as he created many projects. He made wagons, rocking chairs and curio shelves. When he tired of working in his shop he would occasionally take a quick trip to Kinder to hit the slots.
Ray really cared about those close to him and would do anything for them. He adored his daughter Connie and thought the world of his grandson Matthew. During Matthew’s four years of college, Ray paid for all of Matthew’s gas for his car. If you were to ask Ray or Connie to describe how they felt about each other they would simply say they loved each other. Although this was a simple answer, there was something deep and powerful about the way they said it. He didn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, so it was sometimes hard to know how he felt about something, but his actions told the story. This is evident in his relationship with his best friend Cecil. Ray and Cecil played dominoes almost every day during his retirement, and they sat and told each other the same old stories, just like old buddies do. He cared so much for Cecil that, when Cecil was called home to be with the Lord, it seems like a part of him went with him. He was never the same after that. He never played dominoes again. Dominoes were a sacred game for Ray and Cecil only.
Ray’s activities in life gradually slowed as the shell that contained his spirit began to wear out. But even when he was in the hospital for tests or recovery, no matter how bad the situation, all the doctors and nurses and aids grew to adore him. He was always quick with a witty comment to bring a smile to the face of someone just doing their daily task. He made their job easier, and they were always impressed with his ability to make them laugh, when it should have been them cheering him up.
When it became apparent that he was nearing his life on this earth, he decided that it would be best to perish at home, with the daughter that he loved more than life itself. He died on August 10, 2009, with his daughter Connie at his side, just the way he wanted it. He never wanted much. Just what was important.
Written by Son-In-Law Edwin Miskell