Reverend Norman L. Mathias, 92, of Keene, passed peacefully after a brief period of declining health surrounded by the love of his family at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
“Now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him.” 1 John 3:2 NKJV
He was born May 5, 1930, in Pennsylvania. His father Wilbert worked for the Pittsburgh Coal Company, and his mother, Elizabeth (nee Philips) kept house. Elizabeth dedicated her firstborn to Christian ministry at birth.
In 1944, Norman’s family moved to Detroit where he met Martha Sue Perkins. They married in 1951 and were blessed with four children – Mark, Gregory, Brian, and Jennifer. After graduating the University of Michigan, Norman and family moved to Colorado, where he completed his Master of Divinity at Denver Seminary.
Following seminary, he worked in materials research for Chrysler Redstone Missile in the early days of the U.S. space program prior to his call to First Baptist Church in Midway, PA. Thereafter, he and Martha were houseparents for a missionary children’s home near Wheaton, IL. Returning to Detroit, Norman began a nearly 30-year career teaching math and science in Wayne-Westland Community Schools.
In 1964, he was invited by another Denver graduate and his Greek teacher, the Rev. Dr. Lyle M. Adams, to join the pastoral team at Trinity Baptist Church in Detroit. Theirs was a special lifelong friendship serving Christ and his church. Together they established an extension ministry in the west of Livonia which included worship services, Bible studies, college ministry, and ministry to older adults.
Retiring from ministry and education, Norman cared for Martha until her passing in 2002. He married Janice Holiday Brehm in 2007, and they divided their time between their homes in New Hampshire and Cape Cod.
Norman is survived by his wife Jan; children Mark P. Mathias (Barbara) of Jackson MI; Brian K. Mathias (Jody) of Catonsville, MD; and Jennifer S. Vicars (Jeffrey) of Grandville, MI; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by first wife, Martha Perkins Mathias and son, Gregory Mathias as well as sister, Fern Ruth Watkins, sister, Betty Jane Sillanpaa, and brother, Ron Mathias.
A memorial service will be held at a later date in the Detroit area. Contributions may be made to Monadnock Covenant Church, 90 Base Hill Rd., Keene, NH, 03431 or Master’s
Hands Ministries, P.O. Box 391, Shelton, Washington, 98584. All Services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com.