Harold Eugene Matthew, 96, formerly of Wernersville, passed away Tuesday June 27, 2023, ten days before his 97th birthday, at Country Meadows of Hershey. He was preceded in death in May 2019 by his beloved wife of 65 years, Velma (Kaiser) Matthew. He is survived by his daughter, Jan Matthew Tamanini; his granddaughter Victoria Levine and her husband Isaac Levine; and two great-grandchildren, Reuben and Eli Levine, all in Harrisburg; grandson Joe Tamanini and wife Lauren Garson in New York City; sisters Erma Gruber of Robesonia and Ruthann Kleinhans (spouse William Kleinhans) of Zephyrhills, Florida; and many nieces and nephews.
Harold was born to the late Clayton C. and Mary (Seidel) Matthew on July 7, 1926 in Robesonia, PA, the second of seven children. Very active in sports from a young age, he played soccer, basketball, and baseball for Robesonia High School, and semi-pro baseball as a catcher for several years, catching for several pitchers who went on to careers in the majors.
Immediately after graduating from high school, Harold enlisted in the US Army Air Force, serving on Okinawa at the end of World War II and attaining the rank of staff sergeant. After an honorable discharge, Harold was the first in his family to graduate from college thanks to the GI Bill, earning a BS in Education from East Stroudsburg State Teacher's College. Harold earned his MS in Education from Temple University in 1964.
Harold began his career in education at Penn-Bernville school, where he taught health and phys ed, science, social studies, and driver ed, moving to Tulpehocken Jr-Sr High School as assistant principal after it opened in 1966, becoming principal in 1968. He coached soccer, basketball, and baseball at both Penn Bernville and Tulpehocken. Harold was promoted in 1982 to Director of Instruction/Curriculum Coordinator; he retired in 1986.
Harold met the love of his life, his wife Velma, in 1953 when both worked as West Lawn summer playground leaders. They married a year later. Following the birth of their daughter in 1956, Velma joined Harold and her father, William Kaiser, teaching at Penn-Bernville.
Harold and Velma organized and chaperoned many Penn-Bernville senior class trips to New York for Broadway shows, a highlight of their students' school experience. Many students found their Wernersville home a welcoming place and visited often, not only while they were students but also for many years afterward.
A long-time member of St. Daniel’s Lutheran Church in Robesonia, Harold served on Church Council, including terms as Council president. He also served on steering committees for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association for many years after his retirement.
Actively involved during his time at Country Meadows, Harold pitched in to help set up for games and programs and served as an usher for weekly church services up until the last weeks of his life. He was beloved by staff and other residents alike. Informing the staff of Harold's death, the chaplain at Country Meadows wrote, “His spirit bonded with the spirits of everyone he met. ...His was a character profoundly centered on the good and the kind.”
Interment will be private; a celebration of Harold's life will be held on Sunday August 13th at 1:00 PM at St. Daniel's Lutheran Church, Robesonia. Cole Funeral Home, Robesonia is handling the arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.ColeFH.com
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the memorial fund established in Harold's name to award annual scholarships to two Tulpehocken High School graduating seniors, one male and one female, who participated in high school sports. Donations may be made to the Harold E. Matthew Memorial Scholarship Fund, 123 Leonard Lane, Harrisburg PA 17111-4780.