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College remembers longtime orthodontic faculty member

Dr. Thomas MatthewsDr. Thomas Matthews, TAMHSC-BCD alumnus and co-founder of the college’s Department of Orthodontics , passed away on Dec. 27 after a lengthy illness. His tenure on the orthodontic clinical faculty had spanned 47 years when he retired in 2008. Matthews was 91.

On Jan. 4 at a packed service at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Matthews was memorialized as a man of integrity, honesty and sincerity who cared deeply about people and was never afraid to say exactly what he thought.

“Dr. Tom Matthews was a wonderful teacher, mentor and friend to more than 250 orthodontic residents of the Department of Orthodontics,” said Dr. Phil Campbell, associate professor and chair of orthodontics. “We shall all be forever grateful for the clinical expertise he taught us.

“It behooves all of us as graduates of this fine department to ensure that the ideals of Dr. Matthews are upheld and enhanced in the years to come,” continued Campbell.

Matthews earned his dental degree from TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry in 1950, and then completed a preceptorship in orthodontics with Dr. Robert Gaylord in Dallas. These two along with Dr. Tom Williams would go on to establish the orthodontics department at the college in 1961.

Dr. Thomas Matthews (left) and Dr. Robert GaylordWidely known as a master wire bender, Matthews was a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, a past president of the Southwest Society of Orthodontists and a fellow of the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists. He served as vice president of the American Association of Orthodontists and was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon honorary scholastic dental fraternity.

Matthews was honored in 2007 with the establishment of an annual Dr. Tom Matthews Lectureship, which was created through the generosity of his former students and associates. The orthodontic department library and an annual alumni award also bear his name.

“Tom was actually a humble man,” said Stan Richardson, senior laboratory coordinator in the orthodontic department, who was a colleague and friend of Matthews for more than 30 years.

“He was never arrogant, was proud of his accomplishments but never boastful; if he was proud it was mostly for other people. He had self-confidence and yet was not too proud to admit his frailties,” continued Richardson.

Campbell spoke of Matthews’ love for his family including his children, grandchildren and his wife of 68 years, Martie. His lifelong passion for hunting and fishing was common knowledge, as was his affection for the college’s Department of Orthodontics. His character left a lasting impression.

“Dr. Tom Matthews was a man of his word; his word was his bond and one never had to doubt where they stood with him,” said Campbell.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the Baylor Oral Health Foundation for the Dr. Tom Matthews Lectureship, to the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Dallas Chapter or to a charity of choice.