Francis Gregory Mathias

Francis Gregory Mathias of Lawrence, KS, was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, December 26, 1941, and passed away November 13, 2016. Greg was frail and ready to leave this earth…probably out of spite, because his family wouldn’t let him walk across Scotland while battling Alzheimer’s. He had a good life, full of adventure and laughter. He was 74.

Greg knew how to live, and he would also tell you how you should live, but that might’ve been the disease talking. He was a man full of vigor. He loved travel, throwing parties, friendly debates, and could unleash one of those loud whistles. He also thought he could dance, but that has been rebutted. His formative years were spent in Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama (where he was a high school basketball star), and he proudly served in the US Navy for four years. After his stint in the Navy, he earned an A.B. degree from the University of North Alabama. Subsequently, Greg ventured to Oxford, England, with a copy of Frommer’s Europe on $5 a Day in his pack and hitchhiked throughout Europe. During that adventure, over a beer in Munich, Germany, he met his future wife Emily. Back stateside, Greg earned his M.A. in Soviet Politics at Ohio University, and his J.D. at Washburn University in Topeka. Greg was serious about his work, having a 28 year law career in the office he shared with his father-in-law, the late George S. Benson Jr., in El Dorado, KS. While in El Dorado, Greg served in the US Army Reserves, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He was a first-rate father, passing on his love for life to his children, along with his terrible jokes. He was the life of the party, a funny, good-natured man, and the world was lucky to have him. He loved his friends and family more than anything, and those who knew him well, will definitely miss that “wild and crazy guy.”

At a later date, there will be a small service for family in Phoenix, AZ, where Greg will be laid to rest beside his parents, Jack and Jerusha Mathias. He is also proceeded in death by his brothers Joe and David, his brother-in-law Dr. Warren Wilner, and his sister-in-law Mary Ruth (Lanning) Benson. Surviving are Greg’s wife, Emily (Benson) and daughter Caroline of Lawrence; son Andy, daughter-in-law Erin, and grandsons Emmett and August all of Seattle, WA. He also is survived by three sisters, Jackie Wilner of Canton, IL, Ann Sullivan (Bull) of Phoenix, AZ, and Judy Mullins (Phil) of St. Joseph, MO; sisters-in-law Martha Mathias of Union City, IN, Jane Durst of Madison, IN, and Toula Mathias of Athens, Greece; and brother-in-law Dr. George Benson III of Potomac, MD.

In lieu of flowers, say a prayer for Greg, have a drink in his honor, or better yet, write a scathing letter to your congressman. Greg was a liberal-minded man who loved to put pen to paper. He would’ve been happy to give you a stamp.

23 Condolences

  1. Lee White on November 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Dear Emily and family,

    My heartfelt condolences on Greg’s passing. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease that seems to attack the best and brightest among us. My dad is entering the later stages of it. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Lee Goodman Starkel on November 16, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Condolences from the Vern & Mary Goodman family. My parents loved Greg — heck, all of us did. He took such good care of our family and we all will be forever grateful for his expertise, advice, graciousness, friendship and good humor.

  3. Corey Sullivan on November 16, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Emily, Caroline, and Andy,

    I’m so very sorry. You’re in my prayers.

  4. Anonymous on November 16, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Emily & Family,
    Our heart goes out to you all! Some great memories parties at your house! Rick & I loved spending time with you and Greg! Those great times taking dance lessons that will not be forgotten. We laughed a lot. Memories of our great trip to the outer banks! What a fun time laughing! We love you guys! Take care hope we can meet up sometime soon if you are in the area! Would love to see you.
    Rick & Kaye

  5. Linda K Swan on November 17, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Emily and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Sending thoughts and prayers

    Linda K. Swan

  6. Dave and Kim Matthews on November 17, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Our prayers and thoughts surround you! We have missed you both in El Dorado!

  7. Jerry & Dianne Herman on November 17, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Emily, Caroline and Andy,
    We will keep Greg and each of you in our prayers.


  8. Sharon Mamgels on November 17, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Emily, Caroline, Andy

    I have very fond memories of Greg. He was funny man, fun to be with, and very caring. He will be missed by many. May the Lord lift you up in your time of sorrow.

  9. Chris Randle on November 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Prayers and love from Fort Hood Texas. Thanks for wearing the army green with us. Rest In Peace.
    Army Strong.

  10. Cindy & Jim Burgess on November 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Emily, it’s been far too long. We’re so very sorry to hear about Greg. What a wonderful obituary; full of fun, just like Greg. We will toast in Greg’s honor. write a number of scathing letters (so many possibilities lately!), and hope we can see you sometime in the near future.

  11. Bill and Billee Douglass on November 17, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Dear Emily and Family,
    We have great memories of Greg – his ornery laugh and endearing smile – and the stories he could tell! El Dorado was lucky to have him.
    You all are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Billee & Bill

  12. Suzy Cashwell on November 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Dick and I were saddened to learn of Greg’s death, but also relieved that he is no longer confused, unable to see those he loved and the beautiful world around him, or unable to do so much of what he loved to do. The obituary is absolutely perfect, and I know you all must have had a wonderful time writing about him. Every time I think of Greg, the word “delightful” comes to mind. I loved his smile, full of mischief, and the twinkle in his eyes. The parties in Fearrington Village were always so much fun, and he made sure we all had a great time. We will definitely say a prayer, toast him, and write that scathing letter (or more than one), while we send you all lots of love and deepest sympathy for the loss of a wonderful human.

  13. Cris W. on November 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Being friends with his daughter, I know he was a great dad and am thankful he passed on that unique sense of humor. Much love to the whole family.

  14. Joy Cushman on November 17, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Caroline and family,
    We were so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Our prayers are with you.
    Joy and Roy

  15. Julie Light (Auer) on November 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Caroline, Emily, Andy, and family,
    I am so sorry to hear this news and for your loss.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

  16. Vicki Coash on November 17, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Dear Emily, I was so sorry to see of Greg’s death and his circumstances. I so enjoyed working with Greg and enjoyed your gracious hospitality. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Take care and be good to yourself, no one should have to have to go through this twice in a lifetime.

  17. Jann Ziegler on November 18, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Emily, Caroline, Andy, Erin, Emmit, and August,
    I am so sorry! I’m sorry for the last ten years that took Geg on away!
    I’m sorry that little Emmit and August didn’t get to
    know the wonderful fun loving grandpa that Greg would have been had that horrible disease not taken that away from him too!
    I remember so many wonderful years as very close friends, and, all the fun times we had together! Greg was a really great guy! I feel really blessed to have had him in my life! I will always miss him! 007 was a wild and crazy guy, and we all loved him for that! JannarozannaDanDanDanna to you OO! Till we me again, my friend! Hugs to you sweet Emily for taking such good care of Greg all these years! Andy and Caroline, he loved you and was so very proud of you!!

  18. Jan Pippig on November 19, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Dear Emily,
    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Dad was telling us stories last night of how you met in Lawrence, and then of our move to El Dorado. He said he and Greg were golfing buddies, and they also played on a basketball team at Oil Hill:) We certainly have a lot of good memories of your time here.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Mike and Jan Pippig
    John and Rita Gahagan

  19. Mike and Peggy Vineyard on November 19, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Dear Em,

    We think of you often. You ol’ rattlesnake!

  20. Adrian and Anne Walling on November 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Dear Emily and family

    We are so sorry to hear of Greg’s death and send our very best wishes to all of you
    We have so many happy memories of how kind and supportive you both were when we arrived in El Dorado and of very many happy events at your home
    We so appreciated Greg’s intelligence and kindness as well as his slightly-British sense of humor.

  21. Dianne Eddins Cook on November 20, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and will remain in my prayers and in my heart. Just know we’re all wrapping our love around you and holding you close at this very difficult time.
    Dianne Eddins Cook

  22. Larry C. Russell, Wenatchee, WA on November 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

    To all Mathias family members my condolences. Since the early days of the internet I began searching for my Navy shipmate and basketball teammate; we both served aboard the USS Pollux AKS-4. I served on board from 11/1960-11/1962. Greg came on board in 1961.
    Finally in August 2016 I was able to make contact with his sister Judy and emailed her my sorrow of learning that Greg was suffering with Alzheimer’s.
    Today, as this is written, November 9, 2017 I discovered Greg had passed November 13, 2017.
    With a tear and a smile I remember our shipmate and teammate days and our weekends in Tokyo.
    Goodbye my friend.

  23. Harry Simpson on November 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Rest Francis, until you hear at dawn,
    the low, clear reveille of God.

    Thank you for your service to this nation.

    Fair winds and following seas sailor.

    Thank you for your service to this nation.

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