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William Hart Mathews

March 18, 1929 May 28, 2020
William Hart Mathews
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Obituary for William Hart Mathews

.William Hart Mathews – Obituary

William (Bill) Hart Mathews (91) passed away peacefully on May 28, 2020 at Penn Medicine Princeton. Bill was born on March 18, 1929 in Skillman, New Jersey. Bill was the only son of Charles and Ada Hart Mathews.

Bill grew up in Skillman where his father was the Head Poultryman and Swineherd for the New Jersey Neuro-Psychiatric Institute (the site of the current Skillman Park). Bill graduated from Princeton High School in 1948.

By age 12 Bill showed a tremendous aptitude for mechanics and was hired by Van Zandt’s Sales and Service International Harvester Dealership (current site of the Elks Lodge) in Blawenburg, NJ. Bill loved working on all types of heavy machinery. He continued at Van Zandt’s throughout high school; and, in fact, made his career with the company as head mechanic, first in Blawenburg, then in Flemington, until the business closed down in 1982. In 1983 Bill opened his own repair company W.H. Mathews, Inc. on Linvale Road in Ringoes, NJ. Bill’s rustic shop just off of Rte. 31 remained open for business until Bill’s 90th birthday.

Between 1948 and 1956, Bill did his military service with the New Jersey National Guard. Of course, his service assignment was in the motor pool. Bill was also a charter/lifetime member of the Montgomery Twp. Vol. Fire Co. #2 and the Hopewell Masonic Lodge #155. In 1952 Bill met and married the late Mary Kathleen “Booty” Devlin of Hopewell and the two remained married for nearly sixty-one years until Booty passed in 2013. Bill and Booty raised four daughters in Skillman, NJ.

Bill loved large machinery, the outdoors, and gardening. Bill’s job provided him access to large machinery, much of which he would repair in someone’s field just where it broke down. His love of outdoors was shown in his side farming and gardening efforts. In the 1950’s Bill farmed 500 acres of grain and 25 acres of tomatoes with his partner in Harbourton, NJ. They gave up farming when Campbell’s Soup pulled out of NJ. Bill always continued with his gardens and for a while maintained a 5-acre vegetable garden in Ringoes. Bill was always known for his tomatoes. Of course, as an outdoor enthusiast, Bill’s sport of choice was quoits. He belonged to a championship NJ Quoit League throughout the 1970’s.

Bill was a staunchly loyal friend who met with his buddies every morning for breakfast at Orlando’s Restaurant for over 30 years. Bill loved his friends and rarely missed a morning. Bill always said, “We get together every day so we can tell each other our lies.” In recent years, if Bill wasn’t with his friends, he would be watching one of his favorite western channels.

Bill is survived by his four daughters and their families: Sara Anderson (Lorne) of Ewing, NJ; Penelope Mathews (David Horner) of Salt Lake City, UT; Elizabeth Mathews (Gary Heubach) of Hopewell, NJ; and Kathleen Evans (William) of The Villages, FL. Bill is also survived by two grandchildren: William Hart Evans (Brittany Cintron) of Cherry Hill and Kathryn Evans of The Villages, FL.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, a Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

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