FAYETTEVILLE — Retired State Highway Patrol Col. David Leon Matthews, 94, passed away on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville.
David was born to the late Ollie and Elizabeth Matthews on May 15, 1926, on his family’s tobacco farm in Harnett County. After graduating high school in 1943, he joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific with the Navy’s Submarine Fleet. At the end of World War II, he was stationed in Pearl Harbor. After being discharged from the Navy, he entered North Carolina Basic Patrol School in 1948. His first duty station was in Dunn, where he was promoted to corporal and transferred to Gastonia after seven years. He continued to climb the promotion chain and was assigned to several different North Carolina areas over the course of his long career. He was a graduate of the FBI Academy. David was promoted to the rank of colonel commanding the North Carolina State Highway Patrol while stationed in Raleigh in 1983.
After retiring in 1985, he was a member and actively involved in the Masonic Lodge and Sudan Shrine for over 50 years. In 1991, he was the director of the Royal Order of Jesters and in 1993, David was named Potentate of the Sudan Temple. In his free time he enjoyed playing guitar and was a member of several country and western bands.
David will be missed by many. He leaves behind his daughter, Dawn Carpenter; son, David “Matt” Matthews; grandson, Ronald Carr; and sister, Betty Gilchrist, as well as several nieces and nephews and fellow retired highway patrolmen who he kept in contact with over the years.
A private graveside service with officiant, Steve Swagger, chaplain for the North Carolina Highway Patrol, will be held at Harnett Memorial Park in Lillington, where he will be laid to rest beside his wife, Cleo Matthews. In keeping with CDC and North Carolina guidelines during the pandemic, the family will not be receiving friends and visitors at their home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions should be made to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, 950 W. Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605; or the Masonic Home for Children, 600 College St., Oxford, NC 27565.
To leave online condolences, please visit www.adcockfuneralandcrematory.com. Funeral services are entrusted to Adcock Funeral Home and Crematory, Spring Lake.