William E. Matthews enjoyed fishing, especially freshwater fishing in Maine. He took up decoy carving in his retirement, and he enjoyed golf and photography, but “everything else was secondary to his grandchildren,” his son, Dave Matthews, said.
He had two grandsons and twin granddaughters, now ranging in age from their teens to 20s, who visited him and his wife, Catherine, every summer in East Hampton. “He loved to spend time with them,” Mrs. Matthews said.
Mr. Matthews died on Monday at Southampton Hospital. He was 78 and had been diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of last summer.
The son of William H. Matthews and the former Catherine Ramsay, he was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Jan. 20, 1936. He grew up there, graduating from A.B. Davis High School and later from Manhattan College. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957.
He married Elizabeth DeCarlo on Sept. 7, 1957, at St. Catharine’s Church in Pelham, N.Y., and moved with her to nearby Eastchester, where the couple raised their son and two daughters. Mr. Matthews worked for the telephone company, first New York Telephone and later AT&T, for his entire career, eventually retiring as a division manager.
In the mid to late-1980s, the couple followed friends to East Hampton and bought a summer house. When Mr. Matthews retired in 1997, they sold that house and their house in Eastchester and bought one on Atlantic Street in East Hampton. They spent winters in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. Mr. Matthews played golf there and at the Sag Harbor Golf Club.
He was a member of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where a Mass will be said next Thursday at noon. A second service is planned for July 27 at 1 p.m. at Tutto Bella restaurant in Eastchester.
In addition to his wife and son, who lives in Edgewater, N.J., Mr. Matthews is survived by his daughters, Lynn M. Mahoney of Eastchester and Kathleen Forcello of Guilford, Conn.
His family has suggested donations to Most Holy Trinity Church, 79 Buell Lane, East Hampton 11937, or to a charity of choice.