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Authorities identify man who died in fiery crash on Interstate 29 south of Grand Forks

Thomas R. Mathews, 62

Thomas R. Mathews, 62, of Blackduck, died Friday, April 10, 2009, at Havenwood Care Center in Bemidji with his loved ones at his side.

Memorial services will at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Blackduck with the Rev. Dan Heath officiating. A visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Monday with prayer service at 7:45 p.m. at Cease Funeral Home Chapel in Blackduck. Burial will be in the Lakeview Cemetery in Blackduck.

Honorary pallbearers will be the Senior Citizens Morning Coffee Group, all his golfing buddies and members of the Blackduck Lions Club.

He was born Nov. 21, 1946, to Charles H. and Veronica M. (Ruppert) Mathews in Beloit, Wis. He lived in Osakis, Minn., until the age of 4, when he moved to Bemidji and went to the Carr Lake School for first through eighth grade. He then attended Bemidji High School, graduating in 1964. He attended Bemidji State University and graduated with a B.S. degree in English in 1968. He received a Master's degree in educational administration in 1981 and his 6th Year Degree in 1982 from St Cloud State University in St. Cloud. He married Darlene H. Bergstrom on July 2, 1966, at St. Philip's Catholic Church in Bemidji. He was employed by Blackduck Public Schools as a high school English teacher from 1968-1975, an English teacher and assistant principal from 1975-1980, a high school principal from 1980-2000, and as the Blackduck superintendent of schools from 2000-2002. He retired in August 2002.

He was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church, serving as its vice president and on various committees, including its stewardship committee. He was a charter member of the Blackduck Lions Club, serving as director, secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president. He was recipient of the Lion's International Melvin Jones Fellow award. He was named an honorary chapter farmer by the Blackduck High School Future Farmers of America organization. He was a lifetime member of the Northern Division of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, serving as its secretary, vice president, and president. He was a member of the Bemidji Curling Club and served as a director. He was a recipient of the Blandin Fellowship Award, and a longtime member of the Blackduck Golf Course.

He enjoyed woodworking and home-remodeling, golf, curling, hunting and fishing, and was an avid sports fan.

He is survived by his wife; his daughter, Paula (Mark) Reed of Hermantown, Minn.; a granddaughter and a grandson, both of Hermantown; his sister, Nancy Withers of Hutchinson, Minn.; and a great aunt.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

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