Dear Matheny Friends and Family:
It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the passing of Matheny School’s first student and the face of the Matheny community, Mr. Charles H. Matheny. Charles was the inspiration and the catalyst for the origins of the school, which has become so many things to many different people, including a hospital, a clinic, a fine arts program, adult program, and group homes. Mr. Matheny was and is a beacon of possibility and a model of excellence to which all our students, residents, patients, and clients can aspire to be. During his lifetime, Mr. Matheny finished high school, learned to drive, mowed all the lawns of Matheny’s main campus, and ran the soda machines.
Mr. Matheny was far more than the sum of his accomplishments. He developed close relationships with all the staff and was interested in improving the lives of everyone within the Matheny Community. He loved to attend Matheny fundraisers and Friends of Matheny events, conversing with people from all walks of life, and he took a very real interest in the students who resided in the school that bore his family name. He attended back-to-school nights, graduations, plays, choir concerts, and museum coffee houses. In fact, anything Matheny — he was all in. Mr. Matheny was kind, humorous, and compassionate. Per his family: “Chuck lived an incredibly rich and meaningful life — a testament to the love and care that is cultivated and shared at Matheny. We are so grateful to the many friends, coworkers, and caregivers who have crossed his path and enriched his life.”
We will all miss Mr. Matheny, yet we shall carry on embodying the undeniable spirit of Charles H. Matheny.
Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD
President and CEO
Matheny Medical and Educational Center
December 14, 2017
I worked as a teacher for Matheny school in 1999. My first job out of college. I still tell friends and colleagues today that this was my favorite job. Chuck made my job all the better and I’m sad to see I will not have the opportunity to work with him again. He was not only a loving man, but he always had a great joke to cheer up the students. My heart breaks for everyone who knew him and now only have memories. God bless Chuck.
Got to know Chuck around the 1999-2001 timeframe through some volunteer opportunities I partook of at Matheny. God bless him and the Matheny Community as you all cope with this particularly difficult part of the Earthly Journey.
Chuck most certainly inspired any and all of us who were physically disabled and challenged, NOT to dwell on what we COULD NOT DO, but WHAT WE COULD DO with our lives, most of all. I, also being born with cerebral palsy myself, could very well relate to Chuck and the other Matheny students, when I worked, both as a volunteer and a personal care assistant in Matheny’s ‘Life-Work’ wing and unit, back in the early to mid 1980’s, and late 60’s, as I did. I also went to Matheny, during my early childhood, to be evaluated by their psycholigist, Dr. Harry Bice, who usually worked with me at the Easter Seal Center, which was located behind the Morris County Court House, before moving to Route 53 in Morris Plains, just below Route 10 in the mid 60’s. So I got to see how Matheny’s building expanded over the years, as it did so over time, as well. My parents, John and Louise Bristol, formerly of Peapack and Far Hills (Mendham Township) faithfully supported Matheny as they did. Also and most of all, my deceased twin nephew, Hooker Bates, spent three summers at Matheny to give my late brother, Hooker’s father, Doug, and his mother, Gracie, relief and respite time, during those two summers, and was also fortunate to be able to stay at home in the comfort of my brother, Doug’s and Grace’s charming late Victorian front porch home, up in the Finger Lakes region in New York State, on Cayuga Lake, in the charming town of Aurora, New York, as he did so, most of all. Hooker, just like the other Matheny students, was aware of his surroundings, and knew what was going on around him, and could also smile and laugh, as well! He also attended a day program in Ithaca, New York to ‘broaden and stimulated’ his day and life, as well. He always enjoyed listening to music, most of all, as well. That is why I can very well understand how Matheny’s music therapy program, most likely had a big part in Hooker’s life, during his three summers, that he spent at Matheny, as well.
Matheny, most definitely has been a very special part of my family’s and my life, without a question of a doubt, as well.
My name is Eugene Sokol. I attended Matheny School from the fall of 1968 to 1972. Since then, I returned home, here in Georgia, and earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Georgia in 1988. I worked for the Georgia Department of Corrections for 24 years and I am now retired. I wanted to tell you this because if it wasn’t for the Matheny School helping me to become more independent I may not have had as successful career as I’ve had. I thank God for the school that your parents built for those like us! I’m sorry to hear of Chuck’s passing. He was one-of-a-kind.
I’m so sorry to hear this. I taught at The Matheny School in the mid 70’s and will always remember Chuck’s laugh and wicked sense of humor. Very much like his Dad’s. I can still see him driving around in his golf cart. Blessings and prayers for the whole Matheny family.
I feel deeply sorry for the passing of Mr Matheny . I have the privilege of knowing him for 15 years. I was his PCA for about 3 years before I moved to NC. My deepest condolences to the Matheny family’s as well as the school and hospital.?
Thank you for your kind words. We truly miss him but we will keep his memory alive through the people we serve always.
Carry on Matheny. What a wonderful place
Sorry to hear of a loss of a wonderful person Mr. Matheny was. I am a Pca of Matheny Medical and Education. I have only been employed at Matheny for 8 months, and through out the 8 months I have spoke to Mr. Matheny plenty of times even if it was I passing of him in his wheel chair or riding through on the bike. It was an honor to know and work in the atmosphere of a great man.
We truly miss him and his beautiful personality! Thank you for all you do to help us keep his memory alive.
I am saddened to hear this. I knew Chuck having worked in the kitchen and as an aid across 3 years during college over 20 years ago. Unfortunately have not visited for some time despite only working a stones throw away. Chuck was the spirit of Matheny and his enthusiasm for life will always stay with me.
Thank you for your kind words.