C. Wayne Matthews, age 67, of Hot Springs, died Tuesday, January 4, 2011. He was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas to Charles R. and Edith Hyman Matthews on April 30, 1943. His parents, brother, Kenneth C. Matthews, Sr., and a niece, Toni Matthews predeceased him.
Wayne was raised in Pine Bluff and graduated from Pine Bluff High School, The University of Arkansas, and The University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He served in the United States Army and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.
After being discharged from the Army in May of 1969, Wayne began a solo law practice in Pine Bluff, and also served as Assistant City Attorney for Pine Bluff. In 1971, he formed a partnership with John Harris Jones. The firm was later joined by Robert Tolson and conducted the general practice of law under the name of Jones, Matthews and Tolson.
In 1974, Wayne was elected as the first full-time Prosecuting Attorney for the 11th Judicial District, which, at the time of his retirement, encompassed Jefferson and Lincoln Counties. During his tenure, Wayne began one of the first, and the most successful, Hot Check Programs in the state. He also instituted the first Rape Crisis Program in Arkansas. After serving 20 years as Prosecuting Attorney, Wayne retired at the end of 1994. In 1996 he and Claire moved to Hot Springs where he became a full-time domestic engineer.
Wayne was a graduate of The National College of District Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He was a member of the National District Attorneys Association where he served on the board of directors for 12 years. He was a member and past president of both the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Jefferson County Bar Association. He had served as chairman of the Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, and was a member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. He had also had been a member of the Arkansas Criminal Detention Facilities Board, The Arkansas Crime Commission and the Arkansas Juvenile Detention Criteria Commission. Wayne had been a member of the Lions Club, the Rotary Club, the VFW, and he was a Mason.
Wayne is survived by the love of his life, Claire Curry Matthews, whom he married on August 26, 1989; he is also survived by two stepsons he loved as his own, David M. Meroney, and wife Christine of Little Rock, and Michael T. Meroney, and wife Shannon of Austin, Texas; a son, Jonathan Matthews of Louisiana; a nephew, Cliff Matthews of Pine Bluff; and two grandchildren, Callum Matthew Meroney and Griffin P. Meroney of Austin, Texas.
The funeral service will be held Friday, January 7, 2011, 3:00 p.m. at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 228 Spring Street in Hot Springs. A reception will follow immediately in the church's Parish Hall. The family and the church request no flowers for the service or reception. Memorials may be made to Mid-America Science Museum at 500 Mid-America Blvd, Hot Springs, AR 71913; CaringBridge.org; or to a charity of your choice. The family is receiving friends at their home in Hot Springs.
Arrangements are by Fuller Funeral Services of Pine Bluff. Online condolences: FullerFunerals.com