Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Alden E. Matthews

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Alden E. Matthews

Alden E. Matthews

Alden E. Matthews
September 10, 1921 – October 8, 2014

A resident of Palm Harbor, Florida, Alden Matthews lived much of his life in Asia. Born in Chicago, he went as an infant with his missionary parents, Harold and Grace Matthews, to North China, where he grew up. 

Alden graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a Bachelor degree in Chemistry in 1943 and then shortly after, married his former classmate Derrith Lovell in 1944.  In 1946 he received his Bachelor in Divinity in Practical Theology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, was ordained by the Central Association of the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ, and his daughter, Cynthia, was born. It was in 1947 that he received a Second Year Certificate in Chinese from Yale University and sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM, a predecessor mission body of Global Ministries) to serve in China.

From 1947 until 1954 Alden served as Associate Secretary of the Mid-Fukien Synod of the Church of Christ in China.  Their daughter Jacqueline was born during this period and, he received his STM in Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York, New York.  

Japan became the family’s home from 1954 to 1986, when he was commissioned there by the United Church Board for World Ministries, the successor mission board of the ABCFM. While in Japan, Alden’s third daughter, Ellen, was born.  He was professor and lecturer of Christian Rural Training Center near Tokyo, received a Second Year Certificate in Japanese from the Kyoto Institute of the Japanese Language, and held various leadership positions with the Tsurukawa Rural Institute, Council of Cooperation (Japan), Interboard Ministry Field Committee, and United Church of Christ in Japan.  During this period Alden received his Doctor in Ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary.

In 1986, Alden retired and his beloved wife Derrith passed away.  

It was also in that year, 1986, that Alden met Sallie Parks.  He frequently said “Sallie was sent to me.” To which she would say “It was a Godwink.”  Sallie demurred for 10 years before they were finally married in 1996.

Alden was a lover of books (he wrote three). In Tokyo he was invited to a men’s book club that morphed into a couple’s book club that later became Kinkei, a supportive ecumenical group.  Once in Florida, he and Sallie organized a Florida couple’s version, Flingkei.  Alden and Sallie often browsed the aisles of many book emporiums as children in a candy store, often buying additional books for the study in their home. 

Alden is survived by his loving family: Sallie Parks (wife); Cynthia (daughter) and Tom Miller, Tucson, AZ with their children: Zara Lasater  and Bray Cohen, Melborne, UA, Kieran Lasater, Denver, CO, Keyne Petkovic and Goran Petkovic, Tucson, AZ, Kendrik Lasater, Denver, CO, Chryseis Lasater, Tucson, AZ, Kalon Lasater, Worcester, MA; Jackie Matthews (daughter) and Walter Tooms, Easton, PA; Ellen (daughter) and Jim Alger, Tempe, AZ; Char (sister) and Ken Keating, Tucson; Great grandchildren: Zen Lasater-Cohen, Abrielle Lasater-Cohen, Isabella Micah Lasater-Cohen, Elena Petkovic, Alexander Petkovic, Nikolai Petkovic, Isabella Lasater, Rowan Lasater and Everett Lasater.  Sallie’s children and families: Sheri Cumings, Quentin Cumings, Cayla Cumings, Mackenzie Cumings, Steve Parks, Susan Williams, Bryan Parks, and Patrick Parks. He also leaves nephews: Jon Matthews, Steven Matthews, Christopher Matthews, Michael Matthews, Tim Matthews, Roger Keating and Kevin Keating. 

Alden was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Grace Matthews, brother Burt Matthews and wife, Derrith Lovell Matthews. 

Alden’s Celebration of Life was held at the Crystal Beach Community Church on Saturday, October 18th 2014.  Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Sallie Parks, 1328 Michigan Avenue, Palm Harbor, FL 34683. If you would like to honor Alden’s memory, the family suggests contributions to the following: Crystal Beach Community Church, Building Fund, P.O. Box 571, Crystal Beach, FL 34681; the Rotary Club of Dunedin Foundation, PO Box 1153, Dunedin, FL 34697, or Global Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland OH 44115.