It is with great sadness we announce that Gary Lynn Matthews — beloved son, father, grandfather and husband — passed suddenly in his home on December 11th, 2017, his 66th birthday.

He was born a mere 5 lbs. in Puyallup, Wash. He spent most of his childhood through high school in Redwood Valley with his two brothers and two sisters, milking the family cow and being as wild and carefree with his brothers as any boy should. He graduated from Arcata High School in 1970 and joined the military, where he served in Germany. Upon his return home he became a father to Shaun David and spent his working career mostly in lumber mills — first for Simpson in Korbel, where he met his future wife Corinne (Connie) Fletcher. They had a daughter, Tara Michelle, and after 31 years of sharing their lives together, they married in 2007 in their backyard surrounded by their close family and friends.

His pastimes were gardening, camping, hiking and clocked many hours fishing from shore or boat, with his choice of 19 poles and many tackle boxes. He played in the garage making cribbage boards with saved curly redwood. He cut and polished many beautiful opals from the rough, including his wife’s custom wedding ring.

Gary was a great storyteller, equal to the Pat McManus books he read over and over. Along with his favorite science fiction novels and Natural Geographics, he had a great knowledge of nature and loved observing it. He had 30 birds and parrots for a period, called F.M. Birds. He received a diploma for motorcycle maintenance and enjoyed riding his dirt-street bikes. However, he was most appreciated for his ability to play the guitar, which he taught himself how to do at the age of 11. He had a good voice and sang in Madrigal choir in High School. He mostly played old rock and blues and jammed with several groups of talented friends regularly. He worked a short time for Moonstone Guitars and built a unique burl electric guitar for himself.

His parents, Jack and Joyce Matthews, and with his little brother Tim predede him in death. He is survived by his wife, Corinne, his son Shaun Matthews and his children Robert David Benefield and Jaime Spears; his daughter Tara Spencer (husband Torrence) and their child Jordan; his godson Joel Rosser; his big brother Jack Matthews and his children and grandchildren; his two younger sisters Mardel Sarkela (husband Frank) and Melody Murphy (husband Ron) and their children, along with many aunts and cousins.

Gary is loved by many and will greatly be missed but never forgotten. There will be a celebration of his life at his home in McKinleyville on July 1, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please call 707-839-4422


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Gary Matthews’ family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.