Kimberly Matthews: A legacy of kindness

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 18, 2024

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In a posthumous celebration of her life, this week’s Greenville Advocate hero of the week is Kimberly Matthews. Matthews, a Greenville resident, was born November 27, 1962, and passed away unexpectedly on May 3. 

Kimberly’s husband, Thomas Matthews shared that although he is grieving deeply by his wife’s death, he has been honored by the response from the community. 

“She was the love of my life, but she touched so many people positively that this is just humbling. It’s been a very humbling experience,” Thomas said. “I’ve been contacted by people from New York to Orlando to give their condolences because she just touched so many people.”

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Matthews was the vice president of the Butler County Humane Society and the managing director of the Junior Butler County Humane Society, an effort where she dedicated her time as an animal advocate. 

She hails from Homewood and attended Shades Valley High. Before settling in Butler County, Matthews attended both the Marion Military Institute and the University of South Florida.

In addition to her work at the Humane Society, Kimberly worked part-time as a hostess at Wintzell’s Oyster Bar.

Dr. Carol Pope, a close friend who met Kimberly through her work at the Humane Society over 20 years ago, remembers Matthews for her sense of humor, generosity and passion for animal welfare.

“She was always laughing. She would joke that I was her daytime bestie because I’m always in bed by dusk,” Pope said. “The humane society and the animals were her life. She worked at Wintzell’s but I think she only worked to support her work at the Humane Society.

“She was just the most caring person. She loved to shop, and she would always end up shopping for her friends. If she saw something she knew someone would love, she would buy it. I have a shirt from Maryland and a coaster from Dauphin Island. She did that for all her friends, not just me…she was always thinking about other people.”

Sheryl DeLeon, a coworker and close friend from Wintzell’s, echoed Pope’s sentiments.

“She was very passionate about the Humane Society. She felt like it was her purpose. She just loved animals and did everything she could to be a voice for neglected and abused animals,” DeLeon said. “She was just a wonderful person. She was always smiling. That’s why we became such good friends because at her core, she was just a kind-hearted, genuine person. That’s why she was loved by so many.”

Cory Rice, the animal caretaker at the Butler County Humane Society says that Matthews’ passing leaves a hole in the Humane Society as well as in the hearts of those who knew her.

“Kimberly was one of the sweetest souls I have ever met,” Rice said. “She helped so many animals in her years and will be greatly missed by anyone that knew her.”

Funeral services for Matthews will be held on May 18 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 3p.m.  A celebration of life will be held afterwards at Wintzell’s at 4:30p.m.