George T. Matthews of Cornwall, Pennsylvania, passed away on November 28 at the Cornwall Manor Retirement Community.  He was 97.  He was the husband of Betty Dieffenbach Swope Matthews.

Matthews was an authentic and self-made American success story.  His humble beginnings, when he was young on a small rural farm, included weekly trips to the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he assisted his mother by preparing and selling fresh chickens to the public.

George served his country during World War II as an army combat engineer.  He was repeatedly one of the first to land onshore during campaigns in the Pacific Theater in the Philippines and Solomon Island, including Guadalcanal, the scene of some of the most bitter battles between the American and Japanese troops.

George was a bulldozer operator who cleared the islands terrain in order to  facilitate the building of landing strips for the Air Force, Navy, and Allied flyers.  His decorations and awards include the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon (Two Bronze Stars), Philippine Liberation Ribbon (2 Bronze Stars), World War II Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button, and Good Conduct Medal. After returning to the United States, George received his honorabl discharge and a place in the “Greatest Generation,” which has been said that these men and women fought not for fame or recognition, but because it was the “right thing to do.”

Soon after George’s return from the military, he pursued his ambitions to become a business man and focused his interest and abilities on the poultry industry.  George was the first person to successfully introduce and market a product that most everyone is familiar with today, the boneless, skinless chicken breast.

He created his first business, G&H Poultry, during 1961 and prospered as the first distributor of poultry products in Boston, Massachusetts with sales in excess of $50-60 million dollars per year. He also launched another successful business in Boston called Matthews Sales, a company that represented many poultry commodities throughout the Northeastern United States.

George received many accolades and awards during his career, including the Merchandiser of the Year Award during 1980 when he was honored by Poultry and Egg Marketing of Atlanta.  The following year, he received an award from the National Independent Poultry & Food Distributors Association proclaiming him Merchandising Man of the Year. He also served, for many years,  as the only poultry distributor  on the National Chicken Council board.

During his professional career, George also become friends with some of the most prominent individuals working in the poultry industry, including Bo Pilgrim, Don Tyson and Frank Perdue.

His philanthropic nature resulted in the creation of the Mathews Library, located in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, and his generous endowment to Cornwall Manor Retirement Community, which resulted in the establishment of the Betty and George Matthews Therapy Center.

George was devoted to his late wife June Richard Matthews, his second wife Betty J. Matthews, and all immediate and extended family members.  In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brothers Arthur Mahaffey, and his wife Carrie of Gretna Springs, and Irwin Mahaffey, and his wife Mary Ellen of Myerstown, step-sons Barry P. Swope and Randy L. Swope, and wife Andrea of Mt. Gretna, a niece and several nephews, three step-grandchildren and six step-great grandchildren

Memorial services will be held on December 14 at 11:00 a.m. at the St. John’s Lutheran Church, 3050 S. Pine Grove Street, Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.  Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to his church at P.O. Box 173, Fredericksburg, PA 17026 or to the Matthews Library, 102 W. Main Street, Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.