Mark A. Mathews ’51, MBA ’59, passed away Oct. 27 at age 92.
The youngest of five children born to Lemuel and Regina (Roseborough) Mathews in San Diego and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., during the Depression, Mathews’ childhood was full of challenges and financial hardships, but, encouraged by a loving and supportive family, Mark developed leadership skills and a love of tennis and singing.
At age 16, Mathews moved to Southern California to live with his sister’s family, attending Santa Monica High School and actively pursuing his passion for tennis. The following year he won the Men’s Southwest Tennis Championship in his age group. During this time, Mathews met the love of his life, Jean Benefiel, at the local Methodist youth group. Two years later, after Mathews served a short stint in the Navy as World War II was ending, he and Jean were married at the church where they had met. They had four children: Marilyn, Mark and twin girls Linda and Pamela.
While trying his hand at several vocations, Mathews earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, along with a teaching credential and, later, his MBA. His teaching career began with two years at San Fernando Valley High School, which was followed by thirteen years at Los Angeles Valley College; during this period he earned a doctorate at USC. After a move to the Conejo Valley in 1969, he joined the teaching staff at California Lutheran College in the business department, and served as department chair.
Mathews’ background in economics and management enabled him to help bring Cal Lutheran out of a period of financial challenges, operate in the black and become an important part of the community. He ended his career there with a return to his real love, classroom teaching; he retired after a decade in that capacity.
Mathews’ legacy includes establishing the Mathews Leadership Forum and a Habitat for Humanity Chapter at Cal Lutheran; active involvement in Rotary International and Westminster Presbyterian Church; serving on a number of boards, including Hospice of the Conejo, Community Leaders Club, and Conejo Future Foundation, receiving their coveted Civitas Award. He was named Man of The Year by the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1985.
Quality time with family was a priority for the Mark and Jean Mathews. Through the years they traveled extensively together and spent an entire year traveling with their teenage children and a niece through the U.S. and Europe. The family cabin, named “The Christmas Lodge,” in the Sierra was the location for many holiday celebrations, work weekends and summer adventures.
The purchase of an apartment in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, led to the couple’s involvement with the Salvation Army Orphanage and the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, which resulted in their co-founding a public library for the city. Family vacations there always included time with friends at the biblioteca.
In 2002, they moved to Santa Barbara and resided at The Samarkand Retirement Community. They cherished their time there and gave back to the community with the building of a memorial Prayer Garden, given in honor of Mark’s Aunt Hermine, a resident with them there for many years.
Mathews was predeceased by his daughter Linda and his three sisters. He is survived by Jean, his wife of 72 years; daughters Marilyn (John) Boundy and Pamela (Tom) Sutphen; son Mark (Bonnie) Mathews; ten grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. In his memory, the family requests that gifts be made to Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County or to California Lutheran University School of Management’s newly announced Steven D. Dorfman Center.