Nelsen Williamsburg

3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, VA


Robert Burke Mathews

May 26, 1941May 24, 2020

Robert Burke Mathews, age 78, died on May 24, 2020 with his family at his home in Williamsburg, VA from complications of cancer and pneumonia. Known as Bob to his friends and co-workers and Bobby to his family, Bob was born May 26, 1941 in Richmond, Virginia. He was the second child of Jacob Lee Mathews and Irene Myrtle Carlton Mathews.

Bob spent many happy summers boating and fishing with his father, brother and friends on Diascund Creek. In later years, he enjoyed boating on the James River with his “Dock Flock” friends. He loved to share his passion for boating with others, and was a good water skier and fisherman. He also was a good marksman and enjoyed duck and deer hunting. He loved being with friends and family at parties, on float fish camping trips, and playing poker. Bob also enjoyed great success in gardening and cooking, and loved to share his garden produce and delicious meals with his family and friends. One of Bob's greatest attributes was his easy acceptance and friendships with people of all ages and backgrounds. He was a friend to all and a great support to others in need.

Bob had attended Thomas Jefferson High School, Richmond, VA and University of Maryland and University of Richmond in premed. He served in the US Navy as an air traffic controller. While stationed in Newfoundland, he met his first wife, Helen Lee Strasser. They wed in North Carolina, then moved to Richmond, VA, where 1st daughter, Tracey Elizabeth Mathews, was born. Bob managed the Firestone Complete Auto Care store. They later moved to Roanoke, where Bob was in sales and his 2nd daughter, Carrie Lynn Mathews, was born. The family returned to Richmond, VA where, later, Bob & his first wife divorced.

Bob moved to Newport News and became a special agent for Combined Insurance. In 1976, he met and married another insurance agent, Carol Irwin Williams of Williamsburg, VA. The couple resided in Williamsburg and had his 3rd daughter, Melody Lee Mathews. In Williamsburg, Bob worked in restaurant and hotel management. He showed interest in computer programming and worked for Canon. Before retirement, Bob also spoke to audiences at the Jamestown Settlement Glass House about the history, science and artistry of glassblowing.

Bob was dedicated to his family, involved in the hosting of many neighborhood and family social events and activities as well as compassionately caring for his disabled live-in mother-in-law and live-in mentally challenged brother-in-law for over 20 years. He was a capable, loving husband and father.

In retirement, Bob was able to travel around America as well as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. He enjoyed visiting family, spending winter months in south Florida and taking cruises. Bob’s favorite trips were cruises through the Panama Canal and his family trips to Mexico, Florida, California and Alaska. Bob was predeceased by his parents, his step-mother, Katheryn Singrey Mathews, and his brother, Dr. Jacob Lee “Buck” Mathews. Bob is survived by his wife, Carol Williams Mathews; his daughter, Tracey Roberson and grandsons Quentin & Graham Roberson, all of Williamsburg as well as his daughter Carrie Madeux (Mark), and family of Merritt Island, FL and his daughter Melody L. Mathews of Burbank, CA, as well as a niece and several nephews.

Bob loved life and adventure, but he was easily satisfied and most content in Virginia and at home. He was a true Virginia Gentleman.

There will be a celebration of life tribute at a later date to be announced by Bob’s family. Online condolences may be shared at www.nelsenwilliamsburg.com.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Robert Burke Mathews

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Scott Zimmerman

May 25, 2020

Bob was a lover a of games and challenges. I can remember learning the game of backgammon with him and playing marathon matches with Bob and friends. Always jovial and fun to be around we experienced a love for outdoors together as well, float fishing down the James River from Scotsville to Bremo Bluff. I hope that heaven has a table or a boat ready for Bob to share his giant laugh and good humor with.