Friends and family are remembering Jack Mathis as someone who has played an integral part in shaping central Douglas County.
Mathis died Jan. 16, at the age of 90. Longtime friends say his legacy will live on throughout the community.
Mathis was among those who helped rebuild downtown Roseburg after the 1959 “Roseburg Blast.” His company, Jack Mathis Construction LLC, helped build schools, hospitals, banks and churches. He was responsible for the construction of the Umpqua Valley Indoor Tennis Center as well as Douglas Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
But those who knew him said Mathis is best known for building relationships.
“He was one of those kind of guys who was willing to step out and give,” said longtime friend Patricia Buono. “He supported so many causes. He was very well-known in the community for his contributions.”
“He was a prince of a gentleman,” added Allyn Ford, who considered Mathis a friend for 50 years. “Just a very stable individual. Friendships meant a lot to him.”
Mathis was born and raised in Idaho, first in the tiny mountain community of Council and later in Emmett, approximately 20 miles west of Boise. His family relocated to Roseburg in 1946, where he attended Roseburg High School and was a member of the football team up until his graduation in 1949.
He and his wife Doris were married in 1950, a union that lasted 70 years. They had two children: Jack Rodney Mathis, who resides in Roseburg, and Sherry Graves, who lives near Tacoma, Washington.
Graves, 68, who has been staying in Roseburg to help care for her parents, said her father was a tireless worker, even after suffering a heart attack in August 2020.
“He was still going to work three days a week up until a few weeks before he passed,” Graves said. “He had a very strong work ethic. He always wanted to do the right thing. That was very important to him.”
Fellow business owner and tennis partner Lauren Young remembered Mathis as being sociable, yet quiet.
“He was not a boastful person,” said Young, who founded Lauren Young Tire Centers in Roseburg in 1970. “But he did a hell of a lot of things.
“He just did his work and went on about it. He did so damn much, but he was just quiet about what he did.”
Young and Mathis played tennis together for roughly 40 years, which led to Mathis’ inspiration to build an indoor tennis center at Stewart Park.
Mathis lived his life with a strong belief in relationships. Whether someone knew him for decades or was meeting him for the first time, his intent was to honor that relationship, be it in business or leisure.
“”He was a gentleman in every sense of the word,” Ford said. “His handshake and his word were his honor.”