Mary Catherine Brinkley Matthews

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Mary Catherine Brinkley Matthews, 81, passed away at home with her devoted husband Ron holding her hand on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. Mary was a lifelong resident of Suffolk.

She is survived by the love of her life and husband of 61 years, Ronald Matthews; her daughter, Rhonda King and Bob Crofton; son, Ronald Jason Matthews and his wife, Kate; wonderful grandchildren, Abby and Henry; her beloved sister, Debbie Brinkley and sister-in-law, Helen Slater.

Mary was predeceased by her parents, Lewis and Iva Brinkley; her in-laws, Ella Sue and Talmadge “Catfish” Matthews; and sister-in-law, Paige Harrell. She was also predeceased by her precious dogs, Ginger, Sophia and Tippy; kitties, Muff, Latecia, Evelyn and companion of over 20 years, Misty. She was survived by her loyal cat, Kitten Ann.

Email newsletter signup

Mary was a lover of nature of any kind. Her favorite thing to do was to walk on her deck each morning or sit on her porch in Kill Devil Hills, enjoy her coffee, check her plants, watch and listen to the birds and give her neighbor’s horses a rub on the nose or bite of an apple. She loved sitting on the beach at the Pea Island Refuge. She had a green thumb and a special touch with orchids – which mean enduring love, everlasting affection, and beauty. She kept her grandmother’s 100+ year-old Christmas cactus alive and thriving. She was an incredible cook and enjoyed preparing food for family and friends. Mary dutifully and proudly served her country. While living at Subic Bay Naval Base, Philippines, she served as the Administrator to the Commanding Officer of Cubi Point Naval Hospital. After returning to Virginia, she retired as Administrator to the Director of Nursing Services at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Upon her retirement, she was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal and was commissioned as an Honorary Officer in the Nurse Corps, United States Navy, and characterized as a “warm friend and champion of our corps.” She was one of only two civilians to receive this honor at that time. Mary was strong in her faith and served as the Chair of the Board of Deacons at Liberty Spring Christian Church. She also served as financial secretary for the church for over 25 years, enjoyed playing in the bell choir and volunteered for various church activities.

A celebration of Mary’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, at R. W. Baker & Co., Downtown Suffolk Chapel, 509 W. Washington St. Burial with a graveside service will follow, and a reception will be held at Liberty Spring Christian Church, 4213 Whaleyville Blvd. after burial. In lieu of flowers, Mary requested she be honored by making a donation to the Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads. Donations may be sent to 1465 Lakeside Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 or you may donate online at Online condolences may be registered at

The family would like to thank the staff of Medi-Home Hospice, and all those who extended their love and enduring support. Special thanks for the loving care provided by Tonya Everette and Leigh Kearney– she considered their care her “spa days”.