Donald Reed Mathewson’s Radio, Newspaper and Real Estate Legacy in Delaware
The war veteran, radio personality and civic leader wore dozens of other hats throughout his lifetime of service to our country and state.
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By 2007, Mathewson, then 85, could no longer meet the mansion’s demands. His declining physical condition meant he and Bea would have to leave the future of Four Chimneys to new owners. They downsized to smaller digs in North Wilmington, near their daughter and son-in-law. In 2009 a series of mini-strokes appeared to have written Mathewson’s end. But this was a man who had read through dramatic chapters in his life before. He wasn’t ready to have a coda composed for him yet.
Mathewson bounced back, and though his mobility had suffered, his ambition remained intact. He settled into a nursing home and, on a laptop, continued his research into the Washington–Four Chimneys connection.
Bea soon followed him into the same facility, where they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and Mathewson’s 90th birthday. There Mathewson struggles today, and there his story will almost certainly reach its end.
“I remember your dad’s voice,” a neighbor told Mathewson’s daughter recently—not surprising, given its indelible singularity. Fellow Delawareans may remember his life, too. And the stories he told. And the Delaware dreams he sold.
(Mr. Mathewson was still in hospice care when this story went to press.)