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Mark T. MathewsAugust 13, 1963 ~ December 24, 2017 (age 54)
Mark T. Mathews, of Peru, NE died unexpectedly Sunday, December 24, 2017 at CHI Health-St. Francis in Grand Island at the age of 54 years, 4 months and 11 days.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in St. Paul. Reverend Jim Fruehling will officiate.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul.
A private family inurnment will be held at a later date.
Memorials are suggested to Peru State College Foundation Coach Mark Mathews Fund.
Jacobsen-Greenway Funeral Home in St. Paul is assisting the family.
Mark T. Mathews was born August 13, 1963, in St. Paul to Dr. Maurice and Maedean Mathews.
On May 13, 2004, Mark married his college sweetheart Renee Roberts. He also leaves behind four children, Megan and Levi, Daniel Roberts and Mark Mathews.
Mark and his brothers, Monty and Mike, enjoyed a perfect, small-town childhood in St. Paul. Growing up, they enjoyed outdoor activities including camping, fishing, hunting and his father’s tree farm. He followed his brothers’ path to athletics at St. Paul High School where he was on the football, basketball, track and swim team. He also participated in theatre, band and chorus.
Mark graduated from St. Paul High School in 1981 and then attended Hastings College where he was a member of the Broncos football team for four seasons. Not only was he successful on the football field, but Mark appeared in several theatrical productions (and later in life was the master of karaoke).
While in college, he coached Legion baseball for the St. Paul team. In six seasons his team compiled a 112-41 record and won the 1985 Class C State Championship.
After graduating from Hastings College in 1987, Mark taught at Coleridge High School where he served as the head football and boys basketball coach. His teams compiled a 15-6 record in football and were 25-12 in basketball. Both Bulldog teams won two conference championships. Then, Mark spent one year at Pleasanton High School where he was the head football coach, head boys track coach, and assistant boys basketball coach.
Mark started working at Peru State in 1993 as an assistant football coach and maintenance worker. He was an assistant football coach for six years.
In 1994, he became the head softball coach and had just begun his 25th season at the helm of the Peru State softball program. Through his 24 seasons, his teams had won 584 games, which is over 70% of all of the wins in Bobcat softball history. Heading into the 2018 season, Mark was 15th in the NAIA as a winningest coach.
The 1996 season was a Peru State first as Mark led the Bobcats to a school-best 42-23 mark and took them to their only NAIA National Tournament. The 1996 team was inducted into the Peru State Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2006, the Bobcats won the MCAC regular season and tournament titles. These were the first MCAC championships in softball for the College. That year, Mark was awarded the MCAC and Region IV “Coach of the Year” titles.
As many of his colleagues know, not only did his teams experience success on the field, but the women were successful in the classroom. Forty-eight of his players earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors, while many others were NFCA Scholar-Athletes, and CoSIDA All-District honorees. In addition, numerous Bobcat softball teams were named as NAIA Scholar Teams.
Mark further influenced students at Peru State when he was in charge of intramurals – which flourished under his direction – and assisting with the game management for football and basketball games. The softball team’s long-time half-court shots fundraiser (where he cajoled the crowd into getting out “one more dollar to try to win ten”) will not soon be forgotten.
Mark coached for Triple Crown Sports in Colorado during the summer. Many of these games were televised including the three Triple Crown Sports Sparkler/Fireworks All-American games he was selected to coach. Mark also spent two Julys coaching the United States Softball Team in Holland.
One of Mark’s favorite parts of coaching was traveling to recruit. He would often take Renee on these trips and they hold a special place in her heart.
The current softball field at Peru State was built under Mark’s direction early in his career. In the mid-1990s, it was one of the best fields in the conference. Mark spent many hours working on the field, planting trees and making sure the field was in the best shape – not just for games, but also for practices.
Practicing what he learned on his parent’s tree farm, Mark planted hundreds of trees in his life. He was a true proponent of Peru State’s Campus of a Thousand Oaks Arboretum and planted dozens of trees on campus with a particular emphasis on the areas around the softball and baseball fields.
Mark served the City of Peru, Nebraska as a current member of the City Council. He also spent the last 12 years on the Peru Volunteer Fire Department.
Mark was preceded in death by his grandparents, Orville and Elsie Mathews, Milliard Cornelius and Ann (Cornelius) Janssen and Richard Janssen. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Maureen Mathews.
He is survived by his parents Dr. Maurice and Maedean Mathews of St. Paul, wife Renee of Peru, her parents Dale and Shirley Roberts of Grand Island, children Megan and Levi of Omaha, Dan and Mark of Grand Island, and his brothers’ families: Dr. Monty Mathews, his wife Dr. Nancy Mathews, and their children, Carley, Haley and Drew of Omaha; and Mike Mathews, his wife Katie Mathews of Kearney and their children Mitchell Mathews, his wife Libby of Kearney, and MacKenzie (Mathews) and Carlos Tejada of LaVista . Mark is also survived by his aunt and uncle, Sandy Fruehling, her husband Dr. Richard Fruehling of Grand Island, and their three sons: Dr. Eric and Anna Fruehling, and their daughter Lisa of Grand Island; Kirk Fruehling and his partner, Marvin Cavallero, Jr. of San Francisco; and Chris and Sarah Fruehling, and their son Arich of Omaha.
Mark was an extraordinary guy that would do anything for anyone. He leaves behind the hundreds of friends he made during his years on this earth.
Condolences for Mark’s family may be left at www.jacobsengreenway.com.