Rodney T. Mathews of Banning, California passed away on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. Rodney was 82 years old. Rodney peacefully passed away at the Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs, California where he was surrounded by numerous family members and with his beloved wife Eunice and devoted daughter Elaine right by his side.
Rodney was born on May 6, 1935 in Banning, California. His parents were Henry and Margaret Mathews. Rodney was raised on the Morongo Indian Reservation. At the very young age of 10 years old Rodney learned to rides horses. He loved riding and learned all about the cowboy way of life. It was actually at a round up that he met the love of his life, Eunice Miguel. Rodney and Eunice were married in 1957. They lived together almost inseparable for over 62 years. Those who knew them well referred to them as “Sug and Hon”. Both tribal members, they made their home on the Morongo Indian Reservation. They were the proud parents of three children, Rodney Mathews Jr., David Mathews, and Elaine Mathews.
Rodney worked at Cal Trans for 37 years as a Heavy Equipment Operator. He brought his skills back to the reservation often helping out friends, family, and the community when needed.
Rodney was a very caring man and was very active in his community and tribal affairs. Rodney served on the Morongo Tribal Council for 33 years. He held the positions of Tribal Vice-Chairman and Council Member.
Rodney was instrumental in the development of the Morongo Cattlemen’s Association to which he was a lifelong member. Rodney was a devout member of the Morongo Moravian Church. He actively participated in church sponsored events and was a strong advocate of Vacation Bible School for the youth. Rodney also served as a board member for the Moravian Church. In 2009, Rodney was the recipient of the Prestigious Dorothy Ramon 2009 Dragonfly Award for High Soaring Achievement for Saving and Sharing Southern California Indian Culture.
Rodney had a great love for his family. He enjoyed visits with his many nieces and nephews. He always took the time to show the kids animals and horses. He would teach them how to saddle up the horses and then how to ride. Often times you would see him walking a horse around the corral with a youngster riding high with a big smile. He was a gracious host to all of his visitors and depending on the season you would be sure to be sent home with oranges from his tree or a vegetable from his garden.
Rodney was a man of great character. He was an incredible father and grandfather, and a doting husband. He loved The Lord and all of his family. He was a good friend and well respected in his community. He touched the lives of many and will be missed dearly.
Rodney is preceded in death by his sons Rodney Mathews Jr. and David Mathews. His parents Henry and Margaret Mathews. Sisters, Judy Martin, Linda Lomas and Shirley Blocker and Grandmother, Margaret Cline. He is survived by his wife Eunice Mathews, daughter, Elaine Mathews, sisters, Jean Nelson and Kay Lomas and granddaughter Lillian Mathews.
Viewing services will be on Friday, October 18, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Wiefels & Son Mortuary, 50 E. Nicolet St., Banning, California. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at the Morongo Moravian Church, 47765 Foothill Rd., Banning, California. Rodney will be laid to rest at the Morongo Moravian Cemetery on the Morongo Indian Reservation.