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Donald E. Mathews

January 2, 1933 October 23, 2011
Donald E. Mathews
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Obituary for Donald E. Mathews

PEORIA – Donald E. Mathews, 78, of Peoria died at Proctor Hospital ER at 11:31 p. m. on Sunday, October 23, 2011. He was born in Peoria on January 2, 1933 to John F. and Catherine Mangan Mathews. He married Carol A. Wolf in Peoria on June 18, 1971. She survives. Also surviving are three daughters, Peggy Breaux, Jane Cushing, both of Peoria and Mary (Vincent) Garramone, Aurora, IL; three sons, John (Sabrina), Monte (Jennifer), and Edward (Stephanie) all of Peoria; twenty one grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one brother, James. Don held a Masters Degree in Education Administration from Bradley University. He served as a Lieutenant in the Air Force from 1954 to 1957 in Cheyenne, WY. He was a charter member of the Romeo Club. Don has really done it all. He was a standout high school football and basketball player at Spalding Institute, a four year varsity basketball player at Bradley where he also ran track, successful basketball coach at five high schools, both large and small, and an author of several books on the teaching of English. As a prep player, he reigned as one of the first big scorers using the jump shot. Don played a major role in taking the Spalding Irish to the Sweet Sixteen in Champaign in 1950. He led the conference in scoring, was a second team all stater, first team all- conference and a few months before that, a first team all-conference end. At Bradley he was a member of the 1954 NCAA team that lost to LaSalle in the title game. His coaching career wound from Woodruff (1959 -1968), to Bergan (1968 -1971), to Spring Valley Hall (1971-1972), to Brimfield (1974 -1979), to Peoria Heights (1984 -1987). Overall he was 278 - 243 with his greatest success coming at Brimfield where he went (101 - 36) and took a team led by his son Eddie to the Elite eight of the state tournament. Don was named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association District 10 Coach of the Year In 1977, 1978, and 1979 and was inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame in 1993. He was a member of St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church where a Funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 a.m., on Friday, October 28, 2011. Rev. Donald Henderson will officiate. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at Wright and Salmon Mortuary and at the church one hour prior to Mass on Friday. Burial will be in Swan Lake Memory Gardens. Wright and Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The American Diabetes Association=Peoria Chapter. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com

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