Thomas Richard Mathis, 71, of Ringgold, Georgia went to be with the Lord on June 10th, 2022. He passed peacefully at his home and went quietly into the next life.
Tom was born on May 15, 1951, the sixth of nine children born to Walter & Julia Stulce Mathis in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He graduated from Chattanooga Central High School in 1969, where he was the ROTC Cadet Colonel and an editor of the school newspaper, “The Digest”. After high school, he attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where, in 1973, he earned a B.S in Business Administration.
He married his high school sweetheart, Susan Davenport, in 1972, and after a brief stint in the Atlanta area, they returned to Chattanooga where he would work in IT and Business Consulting for various firms over the next 35+ years. His intellect and relationship building skills served him well in the business world, all while living out his true calling of serving others and sharing the love of Christ. He welcomed his sons into the world, Matthew and Marcus, in 1976 and 1982, and was a proud and dedicated father. He spent his time away from work coaching little league, working with the church, and serving at various mission-oriented charities.
He served and helped Susan through an extended battle with cancer and lost her in 2004. In 2006, he met and fell in love with Ginger Minor (Sabine). He married her that October with a new light in his eyes and in disbelief that his heart could be so full. With this new beginning he was blessed to become a stepfather to Ginger’s children, Rich and Rachel, whom he loved as his own. Tom and Ginger lived, laughed, and served together for 15 years and created their own family legacy.
An author, a speaker, a poet - Tom had a passion for writing and was enamored with words. He embraced his talents and shared them with others in writing and in public speaking. He spent countless hours and shed many tears translating his heart into words and conveying his vision for life and for community. He was a published author and shared his thoughts and notes from years of contemplating the Psalms in his book, “Meditations in the Margin – My Heart’s Desire”.
Tom dedicated his life to the church community and to his family. He spoke often of his love for God, his pursuit of Christ, and ways he could carry forward the faith legacy of his parents and of his grandparents before them. He was so grateful for the bond he shared with his brothers and sisters, and he consistently made efforts to further their family ties. He was a reluctant leader, but many granted him the mantle of mentor, elder, pastor, counselor. He served various local and regional churches for more than 5 decades and was still dreaming of ways he could help shape Christian culture and build community. He was a big thinker, but shined in one on one conversation and could make you feel as if you were the only person in the world. He was a servant and humbly offered himself to anyone in need. He was a helper. An encourager. He had a warm heart and a way of conveying wisdom that drew many to him. He cherished people and friendship and shared his heart openly and with conviction.
He loved a good meal and meaningful conversation. Sunsets. The Bible. Bear hugs. Singing songs with children. To laugh and to share a story. His eyes were kind and they would sparkle in wonder. He wanted to make things better. He LOVED babies and his face would light up at the sight of child. He was quick with a smile and a kind word. He invested in people. He had a gracious and grateful heart. He sought to do his best and to live upright as he felt he was called. He offered his heart freely and he wore it on his sleeve.
Tom will be remembered as a friend, a teacher, a sage. He was a beacon of kindness, a voice for unity, a committed follower of Christ. His life is marked by family, compassion, and serving God with intentionality.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Julia Mathis, brother Tim Mathis, (step)son Richard Sabine, and first wife, Susan Davenport Mathis.
He leaves behind his best friend and wife of 15 years, Ginger Minor Mathis of Ringgold, GA, his two sons Matt (Lindsay) Mathis of Chattanooga, TN, Marcus (Ashley) Mathis of Denton, TX, and his (step)daughter Rachel (Nathan) Dunn of Ooltewah, TN and 9 grandchildren, who were crazy about their Pop Pop: Nate and Bella Dunn of Ooltewah, TN, Brooklyn, Eden, and Abel Mathis of Denton, TX and TY, Eli, Crew, and Lincoln Mathis of Chattanooga, TN. Also surviving Tom are seven siblings, Don Mathis (Kathy) of Jacksonville, FL, Judi Cagle, Mary Stewart (Fred), and Geri Gannaway (Kerry) of Ooltewah, TN, Carol Welden (Glen) of Piedmont, AL, Susan Anderson (Howard) of Chattanooga, TN, and David Mathis (Sue) of Lawrenceville, GA – and “all kinds” of nieces and nephews and cousins and his extended church families. Too many to count yet so special to him, each one. That’s who he was. If he knew you, he loved you, and if it was important to you, it was important to him.
A memorial service will be held at Clear Creek Church of Christ on Thursday, June 16th at 10 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Choices Chattanooga or to Boyd-Buchanan School.
You may share condolences to the family at www.heritagechattanooga.com
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 15th from 4-7 pm at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Road.