John Philip Mathews 1931-2020

Published 12:28 pm Monday, December 21, 2020

John Philip Mathews, age 89, of Faribault, died Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis.

John Philip Mathews

Private family services will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Faribault, at a later date. The Reverend Jeff Sandgren will officiate.

Arrangements are being completed by the Boldt Funeral Home, Faribault.

Email newsletter signup

John Philip, the son of John William and Alma (Throne) Mathews, was born on September 28, 1931 in Albert Lea. He was the third of seven children. In September of 1937, John was enrolled at the Minnesota School for the Deaf, and he graduated in 1950. After graduation, John began working for the Austin Daily Herald as a printer. It was during that time that his deaf co-worker, Sol Schwartzman, encouraged John to enroll at Gallaudet College. The encouragement to do so changed the trajectory of John’s life. He graduated from Gallaudet College in 1958 with degrees in PE and teaching. He worked for the Ohio School for the Deaf from 1958 – 1961. A Physical Education teacher and coach position opened up at his alma mater in 1961. During this time, he courted his college sweetheart, Paula Ball, as she was teaching Home Economics at the South Dakota School for the Deaf. He won her heart, and they were married in June of 1962. From the union, three children were born. While working as the PE teacher and coach for the Minnesota School for the Deaf, John moved into the printing and graphic arts teaching position so that he could be home more with his young family. John retired from MSD/MSAD in June of 1992. He and Paula were sponsors for MSD Class of 1975, he was a #1 fan at MSAD and his grandchildren’s sporting events. As John aged, he came to take over Maurice Potter’s seat of honor in Lauritsen gym.

Throughout his life, John was very involved with the deaf community. John was a founding member of the MSAD Alumni Association and its Hall of Fame in 1992, one of several authors of MSAD Sesquicentennial History Book in 2013, inducted into the MSAD Alumni Hall of Fame at MSAD’s 150th Anniversary Banquet in 2013, and he was a field agent for the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf for many years, treasurer of Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens for many years, Minnesota delegate to N.A.D. Convention for a number of years, Miss Deaf America Pageant treasurer during Doug Bahl’s term as pageant chairperson, Faribault Emergency Response Committee as representative for the deaf community, field representative for Harris Communication and he was a founding member of the Minnesota Chapter of Gallaudet University Alumni Association which was the first in the country.

John enjoyed golfing and participating in MDGA tournaments. John and Paula often traveled with Buddy and Bernice Singleton and various deaf travel groups. He loved to put together puzzles and he framed nearly every single puzzle he ever met! A favorite puzzle was the 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle. He also enjoyed O’Hell and poker card clubs.

Survivors include his daughters Deb (and Paul) Kasper of Faribault and Amy (and Jeff) Amundsen of Faribault; grandchildren, Brynn (and Kyle Statsman), Noah (and Faith), Emilee and Jack; siblings, Ron of Albert Lea and Karen of Mamaroneck, NY.

John was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Paula in 2016, stillborn son, Michael in 1967 and siblings, Carolyn, Richard, Sena and Sue.

Visit for information and guestbook.