Rita Kathryn Copeland Matthews

September 13, 1934December 26, 2012

Rita Kathryn Copeland Matthews, much loved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend passed away peacefully on December 26, 2012. Always the cheerful giver, Rita brightened many lives through active prayer and service to her community. In almost every case, her help to those around her was quiet and unheralded. With a keen ability to see and bring out the good in people, she graciously uplifted the lives of all that sought her prayerful support. She is survived by her husband, two sons and their spouses, nine grandchildren, and many more loving family members and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul Copeland and Evelyn Burkett Copeland, and her sister, Donna Copeland Lough.

Born in Idabel, Oklahoma, on September 13, 1934, Rita spent her early years in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and her high school years in Aberdeen, Washington. While attending Oklahoma A&M College in 1953, she met her future husband, Paul W. Matthews, on a blind date. Married in 1955, they raised two sons – Douglas, a certified public accountant in St. Louis, Missouri, and David, a venture capitalist in Dallas, Texas. Douglas is married to Judy Weatherford Matthews and has six children. David is married to Laurie Wyly Matthews and has three children.

Rita was a past president of the Oklahoma City Kappa Delta Alumna and was awarded with Kappa Delta’s highest national honor, the Emerald Award, for outstanding service to the sorority, including her effort to create, fund, and operate the Bear Pal program. The Bear Pal program initially provided teddy bears to children affected by the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City, and was later expanded to benefit victims of child abuse.

Rita was very active in her church, Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, Oklahoma City, where she served in many capacities during the past thirty-seven years including reader, lecture chairman, Sunday school teacher and superintendent. She was also a full-time Journal listed Christian Science Practitioner for over thirty years.

Memorial Services will be 1pm, Monday, December 31, 2012 at Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Directors, 6600 Broadway Extension, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. Private Burial Services will be held at the Seneca Missouri Cemetery.

“…affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret…” Mary Baker Eddy


  • Memorial Service Monday, December 31, 2012

Rita Kathryn Copeland Matthews

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Judy Matthews

January 14, 2013

This is Mom & our son Jackson dancing at his brothers wedding. She will be missed dearly by all of us and not a day goes by without a tear being shed!

Judy Matthews

January 14, 2013

Annie Glover

January 8, 2013

The Glover family in Maryland extends condolences to Paul and the entire Matthew family. I met Rita in the 70's while working with Paul. Remember the scripture: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Be blessed.

Jeff Schaeperkoetter

January 5, 2013

Paul: What a wonderful visit I was able to have with you and Rita in your home and for a nice lunch a year ago or so! I am so grateful that you reached out to my OKC area family, as that opened a door to get to know you and Rita. I knew in that very short time that she was special. So, for my small part of the Lemmel/Miller families back in Missouri, my sincerest condolences.

Armando and Diana Gomez

January 5, 2013

Our love goes out to Paul and the family. Our dear friend will remain in our hearts forever.

Nancy Bauer

January 4, 2013

Aunt Rita was a loving, thoughtful, generous, talented, and intelligent woman. She kept the memory of her sister Donna (my mother) alive in our hearts through her stories, momentos and treasured photos. I am very grateful for her love and will miss her dearly. My heart goes out to my uncle, cousins and the rest of the family.

Lisa Blackburn

January 3, 2013

I am so sad to hear of Rita's passing.
She was much loved and will be missed by many. Her OKC Alumnae Panhellenic sisters will miss her gracious manner and beautiful smile. May God grant you peace as your recall her beauty.--OKC Alumnae Panhellenic President

January 2, 2013

Paul, so sorry to hear about Rita's passing. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! Carolyn Stager

Jan Locklear

January 2, 2013

Rita was one of the first client/friends I made when I joined the staff of OKC Friday. She became a steadfast friend, sometimes dropping by the office, as she did just, seemingly a couple of weeks ago... sometimes through email. I loved her dearly and will miss her emails and visits.

Brian Maughan

January 1, 2013

Paul, I'm so sorry for your loss.