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William Clay Matthews, Sr.

William Clay Matthews, Sr.
  • August 1, 1928 - March 23, 2017
  • Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
  • In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to:
  • Special Olympics
    10777 Northwest Freeway #110
    Houston, TX 77092

Pause Far Away by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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“Dear Matthews Family: Our hearts go out to you all at the loss of Clay, dear husband and father. We Pulkinens have lots of fond memories of Clay...Read More »
1 of 10 | Posted by: Beth Pulkinen Ashworth - Columbia, SC

“A great man with a great family following in his footsteps. Setting a wonderful example for those who didn't even meet him. Blessings and condolences...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: A friend

“Carolyn, and family, (Raymond) I will never forget Clay and his twinkle in his eye. Clay was a kind, caring and giving man. He gave in ways most...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Pam Justice - Charleston, SC

“It was my pleasure of taking care of Clay he was a kind,gentle soul! He was a sweet when he wanted to be! May God Bless You as you are walking on...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Dana healey - SUMMERVILLE, SC

“Bruce, Honestly to your entire family, but mostly to you.....your story is the story. Your relationship with your father says it all. It's what...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: jeff wetherbee - winter garden, FL

“To the Matthews family , I like to say sorry for the loss of William, I know its hard even tho everyone knew it was coming soon. My prayers to all...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Eric Getzen - Santa Maria, CA

“Clay's wings were ready; our hearts were not. We have so many lovely memories of happy times spent with Clay and Carolyn. Condolences to all the...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Dennis and Rosalea Donahue - SC

I'm usually behind the camera but this time I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I loved him so much. “Yesterday I received a phone call from my dearest friend Bruce that his father had just passed away. To say I was floored isn't the right thing. To...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: David "SAM" Samarzich - Upland, CA

“Our stepdad Clay Matthews Sr. "handsomed away" on March 23rd at age 88 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Married to my mom for over 30 years, he was...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Lisa & Mark Locklear - CA

“To the Matthews Family.All of our thoughts and prayers are with you all, as you go through this difficult time. I remember the times when we played...Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: David Shurtleff - Allyn, WA


William Clay Matthews, 88, of Mount Pleasant, SC, husband of Carolyn K. Matthews, passed away or "handsomed away", as he liked to say, on March 23rd, 2017. The family will receive friends at J. Henry Stuhr, Inc., Mount Pleasant Chapel, 1494 Mathis Ferry Road, on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. Interment will take place in California at a later date.

Clay was born August 1, 1928 in Charleston, SC, son of Howard "Matty" Matthews and Elsa "Booty" Bargmann Matthews. Clay graduated from Charleston High School in 1945 and Georgia Tech in 1950, with a degree in Industrial Engineering. While at Georgia Tech, he had an extraordinary athletic career, competing in 4 sports including football, boxing, wrestling, and swimming. His accomplishments include winning 2 Georgia Golden Glove heavyweight boxing championships ('48 and '49). One of his more remarkable feats included winning the '48 Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing championship and winning the Southeastern AAU wrestling heavyweight championship within 24 hours. In football, Clay was a 3 year starter for the Yellow Jackets. His achievements led to his selection to the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.

He played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers from 1950-1955 and served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Paratroopers as a 1st LT. from 1951-1953. While at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, he met his future wife, Daisy E. Crowson. They were married in 1953 and he would return to play for the San Francisco 49ers, where he became a team captain. They had five children: Kristy, Clay Jr., Bradley, Raymond, and Bruce.

After football, Clay entered the business world holding executive positions at several Fortune 500 companies, including Bell and Howell (COO), Hamilton Beach and Aerojet General (CEO). Clay lost his wife, Daisy, after 30 years of marriage. He would go on to meet and marry Carolyn Stephenson. Upon retiring in 1993, Clay and Carolyn returned to his native city of Charleston, SC. He spent his retirement years painting, gardening, playing golf, and playing his guitar. He was the 2014 featured artist in Respite Care's "Moments on Canvas".

One of Clay's greatest joys was watching his children and grandchildren compete in their various sports. He took immense pride in being the patriarch of the NFL's First Family of Football which, to date, has sent 8 men to the NFL.

Clay was a wonderful man who lived a rich, full life and his family and friends were blessed to have known him. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Carolyn Matthews; 4 children: Kristy Nick (Greg), William Clay Matthews, Jr. (Leslie), Raymond Matthews, and Bruce Matthews (Carrie); and step-daughters: Lisa Locklear (Mark), and Marla Thornton. He is also survived by 18 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by son, Bradley as well as sister, Jean M. Freeman and brothers, Howard Lynn Matthews, Jr. and George Dale Matthews.

We want to thank the wonderful people at Respite Care (All Saints Church, Mt. Pleasant), Sweet Grass Court and special friend, Jeff Burkhart for their love and care.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Respite Care of Charleston, 1605 Harbor View Road, Charleston, SC 29412 (respitecarecharleston.org) or the Special Olympics, 10777 Northwest Freeway #110, Houston, TX 77092 (specialolympics.org).