Frank Jackson Matthews, 91, passed from this world and began a new journey on Monday, August 7, 2017. His final days were spent at home in Stafford, VA surrounded by the love and care of his family. He was born in Preston, Georgia in 1926 to Presbyterian Minister Curtis Jackson Matthews and Mary Lee Doster.
Frank Was a veteran of the Marine Corps serving in both World War II and Korea. He was a flame thrower in the Battle of Iwo Jima where he spent thirty days on the island and was wounded several times. Following his wartime service the decorated veteran completed a degree in music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then returned to the Marine Corps. He completed his officer training at Quantico and served during the Korea conflict. Frank went on to earn a Masters degree at the University of Louisiana and also served in the Army National Guard as a Captain and Enlisted Detachment Commander at Fort Polk.
In 1958 he married Margaret Gay Murphy and together they raised two daughters. The couple lived in California for many years where Frank taught piano to young students and created a new generation of musicians. Frank’s love of music and music composition was lifelong. He was a talented composer, gifted pianist and an innovative and inspiring piano teacher to his many students.
Most recently he served his country and his fellow Marines by working as a docent at the National Museum of the Marine Corps where he greeted visitors in the World War II Gallery and shared his memories and vast knowledge of the Battle of Iwo Jima. As a docent he was known for his ability to uplift other veterans, encourage today’s young Marines, and delight visitors with his wry sense of humor. He was frequently heard saying “there are two genuine artifacts on display here today from the battle of Iwo Jima… the flag, and me!”
Frank was preceded in death by his beloved bride Margaret, his parents and his sister June Milam. He is survived by his daughters, Janet Matthews Gardner (Rich) with whom he made his home and Madeline Matthews Falling (Tom) who resides in California. He was blessed with seven grandchildren, five great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
There will be a private interment at Quantico National Cemetery on Monday, September 11, 2017. A memorial service for friends and family will be held at 3:30 p.m. Monday, September 11 at the Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel located on the grounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, VA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation in memory of Mr. Matthews at 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Triangle, VA 22172.
Quantico National Cemetery
Monday September 11th, 2017
18424 Joplin Road
Triangle, VA 22172
Special Instructions: Private BurialText me the address
Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel
Monday September 11th, 2017
3:30pm - 6:00pm
18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Triangle, VA 22172
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I felt honored and blessed to meet Mr. Matthews two years ago at the Marine Corps Museum. He supplied us with information and first hand experience of his life. I have never forgotten him, neither have my family members that we brought to the Museum that day. RIP Frank Matthews.
Submitted by Susie Michadick on Aug 15 2017 12:16:49 PM
Do you remember Frank - It was about 2009 when I saw you leave the Museum - your cover said 'Iwo'. You said something like 'maybe a docent'. You were discouraged. Somehow, I was led to follow you out the door, thinking about 'Iwo'. By the time I'd walked with you to your car, encouraging you to be a docent, you said, 'Ok I'll try'. I was elated - I'd done something for a member of the Greatest Generation! I needed no thanks. Thanks Frank for always being so gracious, so kind, so interesting to Museum visitors. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for saving our country. Your generation made things better for us. I'll always be better in the Museum because of you. Watch over us docents Frank so we can be worthy.
Submitted by Joseph A Hennessey on Aug 15 2017 12:11:19 PM
We, in the DAV Department of Virginia, were saddened to hear of your loss. We pray for peace and strength during this time of loss. It is our hope Frank's life will serve as an example of selfless dedication for many. If we may be of service, in any way, please do not hesitate to call or email us.
Peace and Power,
Charles H. Fuller, Jr.
Department Chaplain, DAV Department of Virginia
Submitted by Charles H. Fuller, Jr. on Aug 12 2017 04:56:12 PM
Saddened to recently discovered my Uncle Jack has passed away.He was quite a unique man, with so many accomplishments in his life. He was a musical genius and I hold dear the recordings and musical scores he sent me over the years. I was so proud my son shared the same honor in life to become a United States Marine. I to this day keep and value the IWO JIWA cap he sent Wes.I believe God's plan for saving his life and giving the longevity was to tell and share the story to new generations about the rare breed of men, whom to this day give the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so we can be free to live ours. Jesus walked the earth and gave his life so we may one day have eternal life.I have peace knowing my Uncle has been reunited with the love of his life and God is smiling saying job well done my faithful servant now may you rest in peace.Love you always my dear Uncle.
Submitted by Deborah Burkhardt on Aug 12 2017 02:07:20 PM
It was just a honor and a pleasure to have met Mr. Matthews and to hear all of his stories. As a volunteer at the front desk at the Marine Corps Museum I always looked forward to seeing him come in and taking the time to speak. He was just an awesome person. Thanks for your service. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith "2 Timothy 4: 7
Submitted by Sarah E Gripper on Aug 12 2017 12:50:07 PM
Frank was known and loved by all who met him. The National Museum of the Marine Corps hosts thousands of visitors each year, and returning visitors ALWAYS want to know if Frank was working that day so they could see him again and introduce him to their 1st timer museum friends. The Captain of the USCG Barque Eagle, America's Tall Ship met Frank a number of years ago, and on a recent visit asked about him again. Although Frank wasn't working that day, the Captain left a USCG Eagle Challenge Coin for Frans's collection. Frank will be sorely missed! Semper Fi Frank, you're now guarding heaven's gates!
Submitted by Arthur Bohn, Docent, NMMC on Aug 10 2017 06:23:03 PM
Frank is one the last of the 'Great Generation'. I worked with Frank as a DOCENT at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. His personal experiences of the Battle of Iwo Jima thrilled museum visitors and DOCENTs alike. As the Marines' Hymn promises, Frank is now 'guarding Heaven's streets'. When my time comes, I hope he finds me worthy and allows me to pass through the Pearly Gates.
Frank, may God cradle you gently in the palm of His Hand, till we meet again...
SEMPER FI, MARINE. YOU SHOWED US THE WAY!
Lieutenant Colonel, R.L. (Bill) Cody, USMC (Retired)
Submitted by Lieutenant Colonel R.L. (Bill) Cody USMC (Retired) on Aug 10 2017 11:27:10 AM
Frank was a dear friend and a great guy to work with. I considered it an honor to be part of his retinue. We shared the 2009 Marine Corps Birthday message among other tours at the NMMC. We will all miss his 1st hand knowledge and presentations. My prayers are with him
LtCol USMC Rtd
Submitted by Raymond F.Perry on Aug 10 2017 11:12:39 AM
What a man and Marine. I will cherish the many hours spent with him at the Iwo Jima exhibit.His dedication and devotion to duty I could only hope to achieve. God bless the family at this time. Semper Fi My Friend
Submitted by Jay Campbell on Aug 10 2017 10:20:56 AM
Mr. Matthews made such an impression on my husband and I when we met him at the museum in 2014. We talk about him often. A gentle man, and a REAL American Hero! Thoughts and prayers to his family during this sad time.
Submitted by Joe and Susanne Durning on Aug 10 2017 09:32:16 AM
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