Wallace Reed Mathis

Wallace Reed Mathis, 82, rode his last ride on October 19, 2020 and made sure to shut the damn gate on his way out.

Wally was born on June 9, 1938 in St. George, Utah to Reed Miles and Grace Shumway Mathis. Wally married Charlene Phelps on December 10, 1960 in the St. George, Utah Temple. They shared almost 60 years of wedded bliss. She brought out the soft side of Wally that few people knew existed.

Wally was raised in St. George, Utah.  He attended Woodward Elementary, Dixie High School, Dixie Jr. College and received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State. He also earned a master’s degree in Education from Utah State. His first 2 years teaching were at South High in Salt Lake City, Utah. The next 30 years he taught World History, American Government, Sociology, U.S. History, and English at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah.  He also coached track, wrestling and golf (his team won 2 State Championships in golf, his words, “in spite of my coaching.”) Another highlight was coaching 5 State Championship titles in football. He cherished the relationships he built with coworkers and students while at Dixie High, many of those relationships lasted the rest of his life. Wally was a Flyer through and through, he was proud (and reminded us often) he never missed a day of teaching in over 30 years.  He “Bled Blue” until the day he died.

Wally looked forward to Thursday night Lions Club Meetings for 50 years where he held a variety of positions. He served as Lions Club President from 1982-1983 and was awarded “Lion of the Year” 2013-2014. One his greatest honors was being named The Grand Marshall of the 2017 Dixie Round-Up Rodeo. While serving in the Lions Club, lifelong friendships were made.

Wally proudly served his country in the Utah National Guard.

His favorite place on earth was the Arizona Strip. He worked 25+ years for the BLM during the summers. He spent his youth and adult life working on the Mathis cattle ranch, Pine Ranch, on the Arizona Strip. He felt most comfortable surrounded by the pines and listening to the grass grow. He also enjoyed picking sunflowers and delivering them to Charlene, every time he came in from the ranch.

Wally enjoyed serving in several capacities in his ward and stake. He was salt of the earth. Others enjoyed serving around him and listening to his interesting and colorful talks.

Wally is survived by his wife, Charlene, and by his five children Michelle (Junior) Alisa, Darren Mathis, Dustin (Carole) Mathis, Mauri Webster, and Mandi Mathis. His posterity includes eight grandchildren and five great-grandsons. Wally was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Barbara Stratton.

Due to current circumstances, there will not be a viewing, instead a private family service will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Interment will take place at the St. George Cemetery. Services may be viewed online and will be available up to 90 days after the service, please log in to webcast.funeralrecording.com. Type in the event number 39162 and password WRM2020.

A public celebration of life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please send Charlene a card with a special memory of Wally.

Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff St, St. George, Utah. Friends and family are invited to sign his online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com



12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Second Visitation



2:00 p.m.



St. George City Cemetery

Guest Book

14 Responses

  1. A great man that will be missed. He was a dear friend to this Dixie Country. We will all miss Wally and his humor. Our lives had touch points in the National Guard, Dixie High Alumni, The LDS Church and a very special interest in the Sugar Loaf Cafe!

  2. Wally touched many lives, even from a distance. His parents were always special people and so proud of him! His example was terrific! He leaves behind a great heritage and many memories! Lots of love to Charlene and family from my family, as well as my mom, Beulah McArthur Belliston!🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️

  3. Wally was my secret grandpa…..he demanded that I work at his booth during the Dixie Round-up Rodeo’s because I was a hard worker. We shared so many talks and laughs and honestly “Booth A” will never be the same without his presence. Wally and Charlene are a inspiration to me. They always were so much fun to be around and you could tell they truly loved each other. I have a tradition of planting sunflowers for my sister that passed away from ALS and soon after Wally and Charlene would take pictures of there’s. I will forever remember him dearly and greatly miss his presence in my life.

  4. Wally was one of a kind – one of my favorite teachers and friend! We are so sorry for your loss Charlene, but feel blessed to have associated with him! You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers❤️❤️❤️

  5. Wally, Our deep love and sympathy extends to your dear family, you will be greatly missed. We’re blessed for rubbing shoulders with you and your awesome family. As you ride onward taking memories with you, we pray for your family left behind that they will find peace and comfort to strengthen their lives, until you all meet again. Thank-you for your selfless service to your God, family, country, & friends.
    Your High Counsel talks were amazing. May God be with you, Charlene, and all your dear posterity , that you all will have the strength to continue to carry on, remembering the legacy you left for them! You were a very dedicated hard worker. 🇺🇸

  6. Didn’t know him personally but I was always happy to see him at the roundup every year. He was an amazing member of the community and I hope he will ride the skies forever.

  7. What a loss for everyone! Our hearts are with you Charlene and Michelle. and family. My heart was always touched by both Wally and Charlene. I know this will be a deep loss for a long time. I loved his visits to our class reunions. His stories were always the best. We were all truly blessed for having the opportunity to bask in his light.

  8. We were shocked to learn of Wally’s passing; so sad! We had lost contact with him and Charlene over the years when we lived away from St George, but have fond memories of our time together as classmates in Woodward and Dixie High School. We send our deepest sympathies to Charlene and the family

  9. so disheartened to hear of Wallys passing!Wally was a loved teacher and mentor.i don’t think a day went by at Dixie when I didn’t meet up and just visit with Wally in his room or the faculty lounge.He always kidded me about being the Democrat liberal from Boston!one day in the faculty room before he retire he said to me,”hell Basile,I always remember that first day you came to faculty meeting and was introduced!Mert and I thought you were sent by Mafia to spy on Dixie!!I’m sure my hard Boston accent,solid Italian,and hair didn’t have anything to do with it!He was so much fun and taught me that there was more to teaching than book learning!we all loved him and I’m gonna miss not running into him at Smiths like I so often did!

  10. Wally was one of those teachers and individuals that students always remember. You were never bored in his classes. His Southern Utah drawl peppered with the occasional cuss word made learning fun and unique. He refused to call me by my given name, as he said I always looked like a “Phil.” So it stuck. We’ll miss you Wally!

  11. Recommending me for VM CNN B B CB cv a P history, and gave me a very nice ride up in my yearbook, 1965. I will really miss him. Sincerely, Steve Hillstead says:

    Wally. Mathes had the guts and grit to set a floundering young high school sophomore straight. He didn’t mix words and told her the way it was. I knew from now on Set that I better not mess with Mathis, because he could hold his own he ended upRecommending me for a P history, and gave me a very nice ride up in my yearbook, 1965. I will really miss him. Sincerely, Steve Hillstead

  12. Wally was one of my teachers my senior year of 1967. He was so much fun in the classroom, and the students just loved him. He was not only fair, but treated you like a friend, which motivated you to learn. He also occasionally pushed the envelope, especially after a basketball game against Cedar City, but that’s another story!

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