Mathew Jones died on August 10, 2021, he was my friend, but most importantly he was my father figure. We met October of 2014 in a Creative Writing class at College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, MD. I was the oldest student, 60, in the class as was a normal occurrence. Matt, 85, came riding in on his electric wheel chair and parked on the other side of the circle. I got up, walked over to him, shook his hand, then tagged him on the shoulder and said, “You’re it.”
With an inquisitive look he wondered, “What is this long haired guy up to.”
then said, “What?”
I introduced myself and replied with, ‘You’re the oldest in the class.” That
was the first time I saw his smile and we enjoyed our first deep laugh. We
were friend from that very moment.
Other than marriage and rearing loads of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, one of Matt’s biggest accomplishments was his Navy career. While in the Navy he was one of the first black men to accomplish many accolades, way too many to mention in this short post. He retired as Master Chief. He had many other substantial responsibilities in Washington D.C. and Southern Maryland over the years. We started writing his autobiography, but unexpected circumstances made it impossible to complete. However, I probably have enough information to complete it, but I will talk with his wife to confirm that is what she wants. I cried when she called and gave me the news. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery not too far from my mom and dad.
I cannot express how much this man meant to me. I loved my old friend and will miss him.