Deer 2

Charles "Charlie" Richard Mathews

September 15, 1940 ~ May 11, 2022 (age 81)



On May 11, 2022 the world lost a good one surrounded by his loving family.

Charles (Charlie) Richard Mathews was born to Myrtle and Perry Mathews on September 15, 1940 in the basement of the family home located on the homestead on the Asheulot Bench above the Sun River Valley. He was the youngest of nine children, and lived his entire life under the watchful eye of Square Butte. He felt a deep connection with the valley community, farming, and the land. He attended grade school in Sun River and graduated from Simms High School in 1959. Charlie married Karley Jean Wells of Great Falls on March 23, 1963 in Great Falls, Montana and the couple settled on the family farm. Karley and Charlie had three daughters; Becky, Andra, and CB. He was very proud of the house he built for his growing family. Karley passed away  in 1984. He later met and married his best friend Connie Jean Smith and they were married November 26, 1988 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – adding two more daughters; Misty and Holly to the family.

Being the youngest of nine, Charlie always claimed it was like having 6 moms and was always babied by everyone.  His signature crooked finger came from his attempt at playing dolls with his sisters that resulted in a car door incident. His immediate family was large but he made it a point to stay connected with everyone. He especially enjoyed hosting family reunions on the farm. When passing through anyone’s town he’d be sure to stop by and check on the weather and the kids…never staying long and moving on to the next adventure.

After serving his country with the Montana Air National Guard from 1959-1965, Charlie took over the family dairy farm, that he and his dad had started in 1953 with the purchase of 10 Registered Ayrshire Dairy Cows. Over the years his herd grew to 150 cows. He was very proud of building a state-of-the-art Dairy facility and receiving the Outstanding Young Farmer award from the Outstanding Farmers of America Organization. Many nephews worked for Uncle Charlie over the summers and he gifted them with his work ethic and sense of humor. He always joked that “with 3 daughters, the boys will show up later”. Every potential boyfriend was evaluated for farm skills. After retiring from the dairy business he continued to serve farmers and ranchers by taking care of their insurance needs through Farm Bureau Insurance for 20 years. He felt he could compassionately relate to the struggles and needs of that community in which he was well respected. After retiring from Farm Bureau, he continued his connection with the land by farming a little here and there, moving his hand line around, and growing corn for the community. Everyone far and wide knew where the cornfield was, and who was ramrodding it. He loved to donate corn to the Rescue Mission and Senior Citizens. 

At the heart of everything that Chuck did was his love of meeting new people and spending time with his friends and family.  He never met a stranger. He and Karley were members of the original Ashuelot Raiders. The Raiders were a group of farmers and ranchers on the Ashuelot bench that engaged in all kinds of shenanigans – from parties and raids, to camping and boating adventures. He even had a brief stint as the ‘Chucker Bunny’ for the kids one Easter. Later he and Connie were the founding members of the Valliant Valley 8 who were known for their memorable birthday parties and outrageous Halloween escapades. Spontaneity was always the word of the day. Charlie loved to dance and loved music. His recent ‘Alexa’ dance parties with the great grand kids were epic. When he first met Connie he introduced himself to her as the Sun River Stud. Many of Charlie’s peers and friends referred to him as that.   Charlie and Connie loved to entertain, and he always grilled a mean steak.

Charlie was also a lover of Sport – any sport – and competition. He participated in Football, Basketball, and Track/Field as a Simms Tiger and recently was voted one of the 10 GOATs (Greatest of All Time) of Simms High School Football. He loved to golf, ski, water ski and was an avid cribbage player. He always knew how many games of crib he was up on you and would do anything to win in any competition. He loved to play pool and played on the local leagues for many years, many times taking the championship. In recent years he was always up for a game of chickenfoot with anybody that stopped by. He followed the Simms Tigers religiously throughout his life, and was an avid Griz fan, going to every game he could.

Charlie enjoyed fishing, making horseshoe art, gardening, meeting new people and seeing new things. Hunting was always at the top of this list, as a young adult he began elk hunting with his brothers near Dillon, Montana.  Later in life he joined forces with great friends, wild game never stood a chance, they spent countless hours hunting and fishing all over Montana and Alaska. The memories and great stories made from these adventures will live on for years to come. Attending farm auctions and getting something at a bargain was a particular joy for him. He was a Trustee of the Sun River Valley School Board, a volunteer fireman for the Sun River Fire Department, and a member of the Simms High School Booster Club.

Charlie was preceded in death by his first wife Karley, brother Perry and brother Ernie and sister Laura Brandt.  He is survived by  his wife Connie of 34 years, daughters Becky Hart (Rik), Andra Gasvoda (Scott), CB Goss (Robbie) Step-daughters Holly Ross and Misty Ross.  8 grandchildren, Travis Gasvoda (Cassidy), Melissa Smithmyer (Ryan), Payton Barnhill, Randi Marie Hart, Mikayla Hart, Connor Goss, Karley Goss, and Jake Barnhill.  And 4 great grandchildren.  His brothers, Merlin (Fay) and sisters Patty Ann Bliss, Carol Roehm (Dick), Myrtle Kinna (Bob), Doris Hauf, And numerous nieces and nephews. 

Services will be held Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 3pm in Simms High School gym with reception to follow at Harvest Hills Golf Course in Fairfield, MT. 

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Celebration of Life
May 21, 2022

3:00 PM
Simms High School Gymnasium
123 Walker Street
Simms, MT 59477

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