Robert Cameron Mathis, affectionately known as “Bob” or “Papa,” passed away peacefully on the night of Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City, following a short battle with very aggressive lung cancer. He was 77 years old.
Born in Oklahoma City on March 20, 1944, Bob spent most of his childhood in Tucson, Arizona, where he fostered a love for dogs, horses, and the outdoors. He loved recounting childhood stories about hunting in the Arizona desert with his beloved dog by his side, the first of many dogs he named “Koko.” For many years, the skin from an unlucky rattlesnake he killed on one of these adventures hung on the family room wall.
Bob enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in early 1964 and served his country for three years, fighting in Vietnam. Upon his honorable discharge in 1967, he relocated back to Oklahoma City. Shortly after returning to his birthplace, Bob had the good fortune of meeting his future wife, Jayne Smith, through a religious singles group sponsored by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Jayne mailed him the invitation for their first dance, so Bob always claimed Jayne “advertised” for him. Bob and Jayne met in November of 1967 and were married on June 29, 1968.
Throughout the next few decades, Bob had many different professions and trades. Early on, Bob completed vo-tech classes in mechanical drawing and welding, paving the way for him to work as a welder making trailers with one of his cousins. Bob worked at different times as a Code Enforcement Officer with the Village Police Department, at the Village Public Works department, at OG&E, as a trim carpenter, delivering milk, and later with Jayne at Mercy Hospital, first as a security guard then as a purchasing agent.
The lessons Bob learned from those previous jobs paved the way for his purchase of Walker’s Lawnmower Shop in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1995. Bob owned and operated Walker’s with his son Mike, serving the Edmond community until his retirement in 2009.
Bob and Jayne resided in The Village, Oklahoma, most of their married life, where they raised three wonderful children, Christy, Mike, and Mary Lynn. The family home was an old farmhouse Bob spent twenty years updating, all the while teaching his children the essential arts of carpentry and home repair and improvement. After the kids grew up and moved out, Bob and Jayne moved to their current Logan County “home in the country, ” complete with a “pond,” which occasionally even has water in it if there is heavy rain.
Bob had a fiery spirit, was fiercely competitive, and was unwaveringly loyal to his family, friends, and the Sooners. He enjoyed sports, music, and art. Several of Bob’s welded art pieces still populate Bob and Jayne’s home. Bob enjoyed bowling and playing softball, sometimes traveling to compete in 50-and-over softball tournaments. He also loved coaching his children’s youth softball and baseball teams.
Bob was adopted as an infant by his marvelous parents, Jane and Walter Mathis, which could not have been more of a blessing to his life. Bob knew from an early age that he was adopted, but for decades had no success in finding his biological family. Finally, in 2018, Bob discovered via Ancestry.com that he had two wonderful sisters, both raised separately from the others and both ironically named “Sue.” The sisters had found each other but had been looking for their brother for the last 25 years. When they all reunited in Oklahoma, a void the siblings felt their entire life was filled.
Recently, Bob came full circle and became a member of the Edmond campus of St. Luke’s, almost 50 years after Bob and Jayne met at the original downtown St. Luke’s. He particularly loved hearing the music and you could often find him sitting on the very front row Sunday mornings.
Bob is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jayne Mathis; his daughter, Christy Coe, her husband Jeff, and their children Caton and Jaylen; his son Mike Mathis, his wife, Joanne and their children Madison, Emilee, and Elijah; his daughter Mary Lynn Bragg, her husband Eric, and their children Ryker, Deklan, and Kassidy; his two sisters Susan Godfrey and Susan Norman; and several cousins, nieces, nephews, and, of course, many good friends.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Cameron Mathis, please visit our tribute store.