TUSCOLA – John Neil Mathews, 81, of Tuscola passed away Dec. 21, 2012, at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, after suffering a heart attack.
He was the son of John and Ruth (Ayres) Mathews. He was born April 24, 1931, at Sunny Lane Farm, Longview.
He was a graduate of Longview High School Class of 1949. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1955.
A public memorial service is being planned for sometime in January. Joines Funeral Home, Villa Grove, is handling arrangements.
He loved music, especially jazz and big band. Neil played saxophone with The Gene Trimble Orchestra for almost 60 years and his Clown Band for more than 30 years. His LP collection of jazz and big band numbers was in the thousands. He was employed as a farmer and then with the University of Illinois, from which he retired in 1993.
He is survived by a daughter, Carla (Dale) Courtney of Moscow, Idaho; a son, Curt (Bonnie) Mathews of Bremerton, Wash.; seven grandchildren, Nate (Jessie) Mathews of Hampton, Va., Scott (Erin) Mathews of North Pole, Alaska, Hannah Mathews of Bremerton, Wash., and Chantelle, Caleb, Joshua and Joel Courtney, all of Moscow, Idaho; and three great-grandchildren, Daisy, Violet and Micah. Also surviving are his two nephews, Gary and Grant Nohren, both of Villa Grove.
Memorial donations may be made to the music education department of your choice.