Fredrick Theodore Mathews, 85 passed away August 1, 2020 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Fred collected nicknames like rich folks collect fine wines such as: Manny, Bud, Tex, Honey, Rooster, U.F., Babe, Dad, Daddy, Pop, Papa, Grandpa, Gimpo and The King of Snacks, there are others too but they are a bit indelicate.
Fred was born August 21, 1934 to Teddy and Verda Mathews in Port Aransas, Texas. The doctor came over to the island by boat to deliver “Manny” and he was born at home where his older sister Marcy anxiously awaited his arrival, only to quickly ask for him to be sent back.
He went to elementary school in a one room schoolhouse. He proudly told the tale of skipping second grade and then failing third! He attended Aransas Pass High School and did NOT graduate with honors in 1953. At the end of that summer he came in from working at the wharf one night to find all his belongings packed up in his sister’s “Kotex” boxes (his mother had a fine sense of humor). To his surprise, and frankly against his wishes, he was sent off to college the next day – becoming a Texas A&I University Javelina. Lucky for Manny, his best friend and cousin, Nona Beth soon joined him.
After a not so voluntary stint in the U.S. Army for Uncle Sam, where he always claimed the Army just “turned a Port Aransas party boy into a California party boy,” he returned to A&I and earned his B.S. in Education. He taught school in Port Aransas and in 1962 met a cute little redheaded “chickadee” who was on a date with his buddy. Lucky for Fred she did not like his buddy and Fred had a nice car!
He married that redhead named Rexana Vickrey on November 2, 1962 and never looked back. Together they had five children – Hans, Lyle, Clare, Marcy and Abigail. Fred and his Rexana weathered storms, figuratively and literally, surviving the death of their baby daughter Marcy Jeannene at age 13 months in 1974 and several large hurricanes. Fred loved his wife devotedly and children dearly. But that is not to say he would not pop his kids on the head for smarting off! He also found mass to be the best time to corner his children to clip and clean their fingernails (“shush! You be still it’s mass!”), which always resulted in a wrestling match between the kids as they filed in to the pew over who had to sit next to dad in the seat of horror…we mean honor. He championed, cheered and rooted for his kids to achieve their dreams and they each have. His children also learned how to speak Port-A-Ran-SAN, dance the sand crab crawl (which is to say shuffle your feet to the beat), take care of their cars, properly fold a towel the “right way”, bait a hook, shut the damn door, as to not air condition the street and much, much more.
Fred devotedly stood by Rexana through serious illnesses, nursing school and countless escapades. From bird watching in Rockport to beach going in Brazil they adventured together 58 years and relished it. Rexana was quite obviously the love of Fred’s life - even if for 57 years he claimed, “the proposal” resulted from a slip and fall that caused him to fall to his knee on the dock and mutter “Oh mercy me” to which Rexana allegedly quickly responded “I WILL marry you!”
After college Fred worked as a teacher in Port Aransas and in the summers as a party boat captain. He purportedly “chummed” the waters often and did not enjoy fishing but was a good, well liked captain and could make more money in the summer guiding than he could teaching for nine months. He quit teaching and guiding in 1967 and began a 32 year career devoted to counseling and helping people. First as a Counselor with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission in Corpus Christi, Texas and then a supervisor with the Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Commission also out of Corpus. He finished his Master’s Degree from Texas A&I in 1974 and was also a licensed professional counselor.
In truth, relationships and family were Fred’s true work here on Earth. At retirement Fred was reborn as a fulltime GRANDPA and truly excelled. If a toy could be made less safe and more fun, Grandpa was sure to find a way. And who ever said SNACK was not a food group unto itself? Not Fred.
Fred leaves behind a family that will miss him dearly - his wife Rexana of Corpus Christi; his sons, Hans (Janell) of Houston and Lyle (Carolynn) of Corpus Christi and his daughters, Clare Adams (Rick) of Port Aransas and Abigail Francis (Mike) of Dallas; seven “finerbadiner” grandchildren: Eric (Lauren) Mathews, Richard “Gus” Adams, Katie Mathews, Bethany “Belle” Mathews, Olivia Adams, Cassie Mathews and Asa Francis; and one “pretty as a picture” great granddaughter Presley Mathews.
He was preceded in death by his Parents E.T. “Teddy” and Verda Mathews of Port Aransas; sister, Marcy Ward Thomas of Port Aransas and daughter Marcy.
We are happy to report that at the time of his death Fred’s phone, glasses, wallet, hat and keys were right where he had “left them.” We invite all of you to help us find them.
Private interment to occur August 14, 2020 at Royal Palm Cemetery in Port Aransas, Texas. A celebration of life with dancing and all the things Daddy would want, will occur after this Pandemic is “put to bed.”
In lieu of flowers the family would ask you to donate to the charity of your choice and consider COVID-19 research and relief.
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