Roland “Wayne” Matthews

Roland “Wayne” Matthews, 78, passed away on November 25, 2023, with his wife by his side. He was born on April 4, 1945, in Newport News and raised in Hampton by his parents, Fred Sr. and Martha Irene Skinner Matthews.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased in death by his first wife, Rhonda Allen Matthews, and their unborn child; his sister, Cheryl Matthews Steeg; his brother, Fred Matthews, Jr.; Rhonda’s parents, Ruth and Robert Allen; his father-in-law, James H. (Jimmie) Pope, Sr.; and his Maine coon cat, Snippet.

Wayne was a 1963 graduate of Hampton High School, a graduate of Chowan College, Old Dominion College (now a university), and the University of Central Florida. He held the title of Senior Electronics Technician in the Structural Dynamics Branch until retiring from NASA/Langley after 43 years of employment. Wayne loved his job and his coworkers and was proud of the part he played in the space program. He truly believed that space was “ The Final Frontier.”

Wayne loved working with wood and taking apart electrical gadgets to see how they worked. Wayne could wire, fix, and build almost anything; proof of this lies in the furniture he made, and the dream home he and Becky built. He loved living near the water, being on the water, and all things nautical. From the time he was a young boy, boating, sailing, and rowing were in his blood. He was the author of two unpublished books, dabbled a little in art, and planned to try his hand at landscape painting until his health took a turn for the worse.

Wayne was raised in the Methodist faith and attended Sunday School and worship services with his family at Central United Methodist Church on Chapel Street in Hampton. He was a member of the MYF youth group. Wayne loved the Lord and credited Him for guiding him through all his life’s endeavors and for seeing him through a devastating tragedy. Wayne knew that on his final journey, Jesus would guide him Home.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife and First Mate of 23 years, Becky Pope Matthews; his mother-in-law (mom), Helen Carter Pope; brothers and sisters-in-law, Lee Steeg, Don and Regina Allen Fleischer, Robin Allen, Ronnie Allen, Mary Pope Cragett, Jimmie Jr., and Sarah Hart Pope, John and Darlene Dampier Pope; nieces and nephews, cousins and friends, and his two rescue cats, Linus and Lucy.

A graveside service will be held at Parklawn Memorial Park, 2551 N. Armstead Ave, Hampton, VA, on Friday, December 1, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., with Rev. Doug Nagel officiating.

Thanks go to Dr. Ko Ko Maung and the staff at the Cancer Center in Gloucester; the hospice team of Dr. Sarah West, Tina, Megan, and nurses; Dr. Joseph Leming and staff at Courthouse Family Medicine; Wayne’s home health nurse, Jessica Lovell; the nurses at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, second floor, Team Station B; and RN Kristen Cambell and staff at Heron Cove.

A very special thanks goes to two of Wayne’s NASA work family, Gabrielle Snyder, and Dr. Matt Chamberlain.

In lieu of plants and flowers, please honor Wayne’s memory by donating to Gloucester Fire and Rescue, P.O. Box 1417, Gloucester, VA 23601.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.

1 Comment

  1. Donna D Adams

    You’re in my prayers, Becky. I never met Wayne but oh, the stories you would tell about the two of you while we were out on a trip would make all of us on the bus laugh. What a wonderful marriage.

    My heart and my prayers go out to you.

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