Westerly, RI – Merton Louis Ma…

Westerly, RI – Merton Louis Matthews, 91, Westerly, R.I. passed away peacefully at home on 31 January 2019. Born 31 July 1927, in Westerly, RI, Merton graduated from Westerly High School. Enlisting in 1944, he was honorably discharged from the US Army’s 38th Bomb Group in 1947. In 1950, Mert earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Rhode Island and then joined his father at Maxson Automatic Machinery Company in Westerly, R.I.
During his 50 year tenure with Maxson, Merton accepted increasing responsibilities of Chief Engineer, Vice President, President and Board Chair. After his retirement he continued as Board Chair Emeritus. An inventive machinery designer, Mert was granted 7 U.S. and international patents improving rotary cutting and sheet handling equipment. Under his guidance, Maxson grew to be a global supplier of sheeters for the paper mill, converting, printing and specialty industries. He was a lifelong member of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industries.
He was an active, lifelong communicant of the Immaculate Conception Church in Westerly having served as Building Committee Co-Chair for the present church, lector, Parish Auditor, Parish Councilor and Finance Council member as well as participating in various fund raising committees. Supportive of community efforts in Westerly, Mert served on the Board of the Westerly-Pawcatuck YMCA and as President of the Westerly- Pawcatuck Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
Merton’s beloved wife of 62 years, Catherine “Tess” Matthews passed away 29 December 2018. Merton was predeceased by his parents, Louis and Julia (McGrath) Matthews, his brother Bernard and sister-in-law Margaret (Emerson) Matthews.
Known for his quiet counsel, steadfast faith and hint of a grin, Merton is sadly missed by his children Colleen (and Jim) Torbett of Exeter, R.I., Joseph (and Linda) Matthews of South Kingstown, R.I., Ellen (and Ernest) Bissaillon of Merrimac, Dennis (and Cheryl) Matthews of Scottsdale Ariz., Owen (and Melissa) Matthews of Beaverdam Va. and Louis Matthews (North Kingstown R.I.); 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is survived by his sister Julia (and Richard) Buckley, sisters-in-law, Madeline Banker, Constance Kmetz, Charlotte Kennedy, Patricia Crowley and brother-in-law Charles Michael (and Georgia) Crowley. His 47 nephews and nieces will also miss Uncle Mert’s presence.
The Matthews family will greet relatives and friends on February 4, 2019, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Gaffney Dolan Funeral Home, Spruce St. Westerly, RI. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church, 111 High Street, Westerly on 05 February, 2019, at 10 a.m. There is no procession from the funeral home to church. Interment with Full Military Honors at St. Sebastian Cemetery, Westerly will follow. For online condolences please visit
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ocean Communities YMCA.

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