With her globetrotting days behind her, 95 year-old Doris Matthews is determined to maintain her independence. She also maintains her annual donation to Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
“I just believe in what you believe in,” she says firmly and without hesitation in explaining why she donates. Matthews has been a supporter of Lutheran Community Services or Lutheran Social Services while she lived in various places throughout the United States and Europe.
She grew up in the Lutheran Church in Weehawken, NJ. Living in the New York City area, her neighborhood was full of children from different nationalities. At school in her era, there were no English as a second language classes. If a student was 14 and didn’t know English, he or she was sent to first grade. Influenced by her upbringing and travels, Matthews finds our work of resettling and helping refugees important.
“I think it’s a wonderful experience to meet people from other cultures,” she said. “You can learn something from them.”
A graduate of Douglas College (the women’s college of Rutgers University), Matthews majored in nutrition and worked her entire life in the food business. She married her husband Jack in the early 1950s. He worked as a veterinarian for the United States Department of Agriculture.
Jack and Doris were in their 30s when they married. They tried to adopt children through Lutheran Social Services in two different states, but were told that they were too old. She was disappointed, but this did not deter Doris from supporting the organization, as she saw the value in the work LSS was doing.
The Matthews spent a few years living in Dublin, Ireland where they met people who had escaped the Nazis. Other places they called home included Madison, WI, Sioux City, IA, New York City, and London in the 1960s. They enjoyed a busy life in each bustling city, relying on public transportation and never finding it necessary to purchase a car. In the late 1970s, they retired to Bellingham.
“Until we moved to the State of Washington, we never had encountered a parking lot at a Lutheran church,” Matthews said.
Though her eyesight troubles her a bit, Doris still reads the Wall Street Journal every day. Don’t try to open the door for her, as Matthews insists upon doing as much as she can for herself. She attends Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle. It’s an older established congregation that is more progressive.
“It’s a very interesting church because there are a lot of young people,” she said. “That’s unusual for churches these days.”
Having outlived most of her family, Doris is still young at heart. Her secret could be her optimistic outlook on life, her healthy diet or her fiercely independent spirit. Or, perhaps Doris would agree with the Wall Street Journal, which recently reported that charitable giving leads to better health.