Ted Lee Mathis, (also known as Pa Ted, Daddy Ted & Ted the Elder) died Saturday, January 5, 2019, following a sudden and brief illness. He was 80 years old.
A native of Yancey County, NC, Ted, is the son of the late Roy and Evie Belle McIntosh Mathis of Hardscrabble Road, Burnsville, NC. Ted was one of thirteen children and raised on a farm, which shaped his intense love of family, land and sweaty hard work. He relished a hayloft read of Zane Grey books on a rainy afternoon.
Holding degrees from Mars Hill College and Appalachian State University, Ted’s love for people, the outdoors, and ‘watching things grow’ was a natural segue into his career as a Personnel Management Specialist with the United States Forest Service. He first served as a counselor with the Schenck Job Corp Civilian Conservation Center in Brevard, then on to projects in Ozark, Arkansas, the Daniel Boone National Forest in Winchester, Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia. Ted chose Asheville over Washington DC for his last assignment and retired as the Administrative Officer for the National Forests in North Carolina and the Southern Forest Experiment Station at UNCA (where a ‘pet’ praying mantis from the Entomology Department gave birth to hundreds in his desk-top plant). Ted was proud of his work where he lived out his passion for sustainable forest stewardship and reforestation projects that replenished wildlife habitats and provided underserved landowners & farmers with employment.
In his retirement, Ted taught Humanities as an adjunct faculty member at the Montreat College School of Professional Adult Studies (where he baked banana bread for students during exams). He also served as the local President of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
Generous, thoughtful and rich in friends, Ted was a member of the First Baptist Church of Asheville, where he served as deacon & faithfully taught the Gideon/Keystone Sunday School Class for years. He served in care-giving roles for loved ones for nearly 30 years. He was a United States Marine and tough- as-nails. He loved to trout fish, was a sports fan and beekeeper. He was a gentleman farmer and supplied neighbors with fresh vegetables from his community garden. Ted gave his favorite people homemade bourbon ball candy (others got pickled beets). Ted never tired of doing good.
Ted is survived by Angela Priester Mathis, his adoring wife of 53 years; a son, United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Vann Mathis, of Atlanta, GA; a daughter, Annemarie Dugan of Erwin, TN; a son, the Reverend Jeff Mathis, of Sylva, NC; beloved grandchildren, Laura & Brit Dugan, Zeb & Ellen Mathis; beloved sisters, Marie M. Ferguson of Jonesborough TN, Hanna M. Neighbors of Raleigh, NC, and Mary M. Robinson & Louise M. Young of Burnsville, NC. Ted is preceded in death by brothers Ed, Wayne, Ward and Roy Jr. Mathis and sister, Jewel Mathis Penland.
A 2:00 PM Memorial Service will be held on Friday, January 11, 2018, in the sanctuary at the First Baptist Church of Asheville. Family will receive friends and continue to celebrate Ted in the church dining hall immediately following. He will be interred at the church’s Sacred Gardens Columbarium.
Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road is assisting the family.