Daniel Johnson Matthews, Sr., a former Des Moines resident, died at his home in Atlanta, Georgia on November 29, 2010. He was 80 years old. He was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1930, at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the first child of Antoinette Johnson Matthews and William Collins Matthews.
Dan attended the Out-Of-Doors School on Oakdale Road, the first private nursery school in Atlanta, Georgia, founded by his mother Antoinette Johnson Matthews. He attended the Druid Hills School in Atlanta through the 7thGrade, and spent World War II in uniform at the Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. He studied at Emory University his freshman year, the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia with a degree in Journalism. He served in the Army Reserves.
Dan worked for Meredith Publishing Company, Better Homes and Gardens, in Des Moines, Iowa as an editor and in advertising sales. He also worked for the Des Moines Register and Tribune Syndicate selling columns, editorials and comic strips throughout the Southeast. While working for Meredith, Dan and his family were transferred to Chicago, Illinois; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; and back to Des Moines, Iowa. Additionally, Dan worked as a freelance journalist.
Dan and his first wife Norma Sexton Matthews were married October 13, 1956, and had three children: Sarah Matthews Pongracz (Theodore) of Marco Island, Florida: Emily Elizabeth Matthews (Anthony Caponi) of Gloucester, Massachusetts; and Daniel Johnson Matthews, Jr., of Watkinsville, Georgia. He has one grandchild Lowell Thomas Matthews of Watkinsville, Georgia.
Dan was preceded in death by his brother Michael, his parents, and his first wife Norma.
Dan married Jon Evanlee Daum June 27, 2001. Evanlee was his constant companion and the joy of the later years of his life.
After Norma's death in 1981, Dan moved back to the family homestead in the Druid Hills suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. He was very proud of being a 5thGeneration Atlantan living on his family's property. Dan was a descendant of a number of Atlanta's pioneer families including the Medlocks, the Johnsons, the Chandlers and the Harrises. Among his famous family members were Joel Chandler Harris and General David Blackshear.
Dan is also survived by his cousin Jean Johnson Givens, of Decatur, Georgia who was like a sister to him; Jean's children Julianne (Thomas) Goecke of Decatur; Michael (Lois) Givens of Norcross, Georgia; and Daniel (Bertie) Givens of Lawrenceville, Georgia; and their children and grandchildren; in addition to numerous other cousins, two step grandchildren, and one step great grandchild.
It was Dan's desire to be cremated and not to have any memorial service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Georgia Military College Foundation for the Georgia Military Prep School. Georgia Military College Foundation, Office of Advancement, 201 East Greene Street, Milledgeville, Georgia 31061, (478) 445-2692,www.gmcfoundation.org