John Ryburn Matthews, beloved husband, father and dear friend of many, went to his Heavenly reward July 17, 2012.
John was born April 12, 1921, the son of Phillip Temple Matthews and Hazel Dickson Matthews, in Peoria, Ill. He grew up with the Illinois River in his backyard, in the town of Chillicothe. He always said it was a great place to grow up. He attended Western Military Academy and Todd School, where he was a member of the swim team. He later attended Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. He joined the United States Coast Guard, which was taken over by the Navy during World War II, serving in the South Pacific on LST Mine Sweepers until the end of the war, receiving honorable discharges from both the Navy and the Coast Guard.
Returning home, John went to work at Caterpillar Tractor Company, working in the Mechanical Drawing Dept. It was there he met his future wife, Marjory Evans Bluhm of Peoria. They married May 3, 1947, and recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
John and Marjory and their three daughters, Debby, Pam and Vicki moved from Illinois to Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1953 and enjoyed six years there. From there, the family moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. During this time John became friends with the famous trick rider/bull rider, Dick Griffith. A lasting friendship developed and John found himself in the Quarter Horse business, a passion that would last for decades.
John had a lot of friends because he was a cherished friend of many. He met Ben Milam through his wife Marjory’s cousin. Ben was managing a 50,000 acre ranch in the Clines Corner area of New Mexico. The men became fast friends and enjoyed a friendship that ignored the difficulties of time and distance. They hunted elk in Colorado, deer in New Mexico, worked cattle and you name it. They corresponded on a regular basis between ranch visits. They had been the best of friends for 30 years when Ben succumbed to a massive heart attack in 1998. He was missed dearly for the rest of John’s life.