Thomas Edward Matthews
"Tom"
33 Years Old

April 10, 1963 to March 15, 1997

Tom was born in Englewood, N.J. and lived in Northern N.J. with his family. When he was seven, they moved to Houlton, Maine. Tom graduated from Houlton High School in 1981, where he was a member of the National Honor Society. In high school he played baseball, soccer and hockey, with his first choice being hockey. While in high school, Tom attended a month long Outward Bound survival course off the coast of Maine. In his dad's words, "He left a boy and came home a man." The experience made a tremendous difference in his approach to life and in planning his future.

He went on to graduate from Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) in 1985, where during his senior year, he was student commander of the Navel ROTC Unit. He earned many NROTC awards and commendations at MMA. During his sophomore year, he became airborne qualified and received his jump wings.

After graduation from MMA, Tom served in the United States Navy for 10 years. He attained the rank of Lieutenant. Tom received the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation and many other medals and awards. At the time of his death, Tom was employed by Military Sealift Command sailing out of Guam.

Tom is survived by his parents, Robert and Patricia Matthews of Ludlow, Maine; a daughter, Jehna Marie Matthews of Houlton; brothers, Robert III and James Matthews; a sister, Anne Cottle, of Houlton; many believed nieces and nephews, grandparents Robert and Margaret Small of Orlando, Florida, and his fiancée, Marifi' Monida of Cebur City, Philippines.

Tom was special to his family and his many friends. He was a devoted son, father, brother and friend. His calling took him all over the world, but home was always the woods and Dreios Lake, in Northern Maine. He was a sailor and adventurer, who loved the sea. He spoke to us many times of the sun setting, moon rising, and stars shining in all their glory on the open sea. His many commendations reflected his desire to always work extremely hard. Tom was a proud man - proud to serve his country, proud to be a father and proud to be part of an extremely close and loving family. We, in turn, were so very proud of him. He had a marvelous sense of humor, while at the same time, took his life and himself very seriously.

When Tom was murdered, I had started to make a family quilt, which has a block for each of our children. Tom's block as inscribed in it, "He didn't know it couldn't be done but went ahead and did it." We all miss him so.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Our son, Tom, was assaulted on the night of March 12, 1997 in a parking lot in Agana, Guam. His ship had just returned to port after a tour at sea. The previous day he had received word of the death of his grandmother back in Maine.

The assailant, Edwin Dydasco, was a casual acquaintance who had been arguing with his girlfriend during the evening. A vehicle drove by with people in it shooting and yelling. Apparently, something was said that triggered Dydasco's rage and violence. The 6'1", 215 pound man, who is also a trained Thai kick boxer, kneed Tom in the chest, grabbed him, and kneed him at least twice in the head, dislodging his brain, causing him to be brain dead. He was revived, then hospitalized. Because of inadequate facilities on Guam, he was medi-transferred to Dripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he died on March 15, 1997.

Edwin Dydasco plea bargained to first degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

 

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Thomas Matthews