Wade Hampton Bynum Matthews

June 29, 1933 ~ August 29, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old


Wade Hampton Bynum Matthews of Sarasota, Florida passed away on August 29, 2023 at age 90. He was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Marshall Lawrence Matthews and Mary Preston Bynum Matthews. He was the eldest of three boys, who lived apart for several years upon the illness and death of their mother when he was ten years old.

He was predeceased by his parents; his step-mother Ruth Benbow Matthews; his two step-brothers and their wives, who were all from Winston-Salem, North Carolina; his two sisters-in-law; and a nephew. His youngest brother, David Matthews of Alexandria, Virginia, died two days before him.

He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Betty Morgan Matthews, who he married in Munich, Germany; daughter Deborah Matthews of Miami, Florida; daughter Pamela (David) Klinger of Madison, Alabama; son Wade Matthews, Jr. of Austin, Texas; grandchildren Richard and Sarah Klinger; brother Lawrence Matthews of Walnut Cove, North Carolina; sister-in-law Amanda Carter of Alexandria, Virginia; and niece Mary (Don) Prouse of Decatur, Texas.

After 33 years, Mr. Matthews retired in 1990 as a career Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister Counselor in the U.S. Department of State. During his career, he lived with his family and worked in diplomatic and consular posts in eight foreign countries. He held acting ambassadorial positions in Chile and Guyana and was Consul General in Ecuador. In Washington, D.C., assignments included Deputy Director of the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States and Director of the State Department’s Office of Central American Affairs.

In 1995, Mr. Matthews helped supervise elections in Bosnia for the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. He traveled extensively for the Department of State in the former Soviet Union in 1992 assisting the establishment of U.S. embassies. He evaluated and recommended changes for professional recruitment in international organizations in Western Europe and America. Mr. Matthews taught a graduate-level course on U.S. post-cold war foreign policy. He loved to frequently speak to Florida organizations about the natural environment, population, international affairs, and civil liberties.

The world intrigued him even before he began reading newspapers daily at age seven until he died. Passionate about animals at an early age, he graduated with a degree in Zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he finished a year of law school at the University of Florida. In 1969, he completed a graduate study in Latin American Affairs at Stanford University. Mr. Matthews was a Professor of Strategy and Policy for two years at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He spoke English, Spanish, and German and retained some once-fluent Portuguese.
Mr. Matthews, a lifetime avid birder and observer of nature, loved exploring new places with his family. Always fascinated by cultures, history, and current events, he traveled to 170 countries visiting habitats worldwide and introducing his family to diverse creatures both in the wild and domestic. He had many beloved pets during his lifetime from dogs, macaws, and monkeys to snakes and more. His love of life and family will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34232 on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. A graveside service will be held at Mountain View Cemetery, 1401 Mountain View Road, Vinton, VA 24179 on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. All are welcome to attend.

Memorials may be sent to Sarasota Audubon Society, 999 Center Road, Sarasota, FL 34240 or the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, 400 Palmetto Ave., Osprey, FL 34229

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September 9, 2023

11:00 AM to TBD
Graveside - Mountain View Cemetery


Mountain View Cemetery
Mountain View Road
Vinton, VA 24179


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