UNION, NJ – A long-time Vauxhall family continues to be proud of the five brothers who served their country in the military during World War II.
Walter Mathews, who turns 95 on June 20, is the last surviving Mathews brother. He is proud of the vital roles he and his brothers Robert, Richard, Wilfred and Ernest Mathews played during the war.
Mathews entered the U.S. Air Force on August 18, 1943. He served in Luzon, Southern Philippines during the war as a heavy equipment operator. “Everywhere I went I got along with everyone,” said Mathews of his Air Force days.
Mathews was awarded a World War II Victory Medal, an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, a American Campaign Medal, and a Philippines Liberation Ribbon.
Mathews’ brother Robert served in the Navy. His brother Richard in the Merchant Marines and Wilfred served in the Army, as did Ernest. Their youngest brother, Al, was not old enough to serve during the war. All the Mathews brothers made it back safety after the war, and Walter was honorably discharged on March 16, 1946. Awaiting them back in Vauxhall were their parents, Annie and Bill.
Walter Mathews married Josephine Marie and worked in the ShopRite produce department for 34 years until his retirement. He then worked at Shah’s Candy Store, followed by several years at Tops Drugstore in Maplewood until just a few years ago. Mathews’ wife passed away in 2007.
“My dad is the best father in the world,” said his daughter Robin. “He’s Mr. Funny Man. He keeps us laughing.”
“I could never fill his shoes,” said his son, Walter, Jr. “He’s just the best.” Walter has four children and 11 grandchildren, including WWE wrestler and actor Fred Rosser, III. “He’s proud of all of his grandkids,” said his daughter Robin, “and Fred helps take care of his Pop.”
Ernest passed away in April 2020 at the age of 97. Robert died at the age of 87 about 15 years ago, Mathews said. Richard, who spent time all over the world and became a limousine driver, died at 94 in 2017. Winfred died in 1947.
“I feel good,” said Mathews. He said he still drives, uses a GPS, an IPad and his cell phone. “I stay home mostly because of COVID,” he said, “but sometimes I go out for coffee.”