Tribute to well-known Nestle employee and Lions member
ST PETER'S Anglican Church, Gympie was filled with friends, colleagues and extended family on July 10 as a final farewell was said for Lew Matthews, who passed away after a short illness on July 3.
Lew was born on November 20, 1944, the only child of Harold and Edna Matthews. He was christened Lewis Harold Matthews. He preferred Lew and was only called Lewis by his mother.
He attended Gympie Central School for his primary education and later Gympie State High School where he excelled in his chosen subjects. He developed a thirst for knowledge and this continued right throughout his life.
Tennis was his chosen sport at school and later he played squash for many years.
Lew began his working career in Gympie with accountants J.H. Leitch and Sons.
He then joined the Public Service and worked for six years at the Gympie Court House, before transferring to Gladstone.
From there he moved to Brisbane and worked in the office of Castlemaine Perkins Brewery returning to Gympie to work at Nestle for 391/2 years.
Lew took early retirement to care for his mother until her passing in 2012.
Throughout Lew's life he was involved with Gympie Gold City Toastmasters, Gympie Lions Club, The Gympie Cemetery Trust and the Anglican Men's Group.
Lew joined Gympie Lions in 1989. He served as president 1993/94 and was membership chairman and spectacle collector over many years.
Lew enjoyed working in the Lions catering van especially at the Gympie Show and Gympie Muster, where he was the specialist at making toasted sandwiches.
Lions dinner meetings saw Lew "buying the baton" and telling his jokes. He was the recipient of the Melvin Jones Award.
At every Lions dinner meeting, Lew supplied the raffle prize with extra special prizes on occasions such as the district governor visit, Youth of the Year, inter-club meetings and changeovers. Everyone attending wanted to win the raffle.
In August 2006, Lew became a member of the Gympie Cemetery Trust and assumed the role of chairman of the Board of Trustees in April 2007, following the passing of Tom Madill.
Under Lew's leadership there has been much progress at the cemetery - the implementation of ashes gardens, memorial walls, the memorial leaf tree, the gazebo and more recently the completion of the new office and toilets.
Lew's love and knowledge of cars is legendary.
He kept his cars in showroom condition and could quote statistics about engine performance, fuel consumption, breaking power etc at ease.
His love of engines could possibly be traced back to his youth when he would accompany his grandfather, who was an engine driver, during school holidays on the rail motor from Gympie to Brooloo (the original Mary Valley Rattler).
Lew was a man of faith and a regular worshipper at St Peterss Anglican Church.
As a young man he served as altar boy and over time became a sanctuary server.
He was a strong believer in religious ecumenism and would enthusiastically invite his friends from St Patrick's congregation to special events.
He attended the St Patrick's men's group afternoon at Jessie Witham Centre when he was able and assisted wherever he could.
Lew will be remembered as a devoted son, a kind and generous friend to many, someone who enjoyed a cuppa and a chat along with a joke or two.
He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.