Former OOIDA Board Member Jim Mathews voted as Director Emeritus

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | Tuesday, October 27, 2015

OOIDA Life Member Jim Mathews, who resigned his position as member of the OOIDA Board of Directors in April 2014 because of his health, received a surprise phone call late Saturday evening. In the last bit of board business conducted at last week’s fall meeting, Mathews was unanimously voted in as Director Emeritus.

President and CEO Jim Johnston commended Mathews for his longtime service to the board and to the Association. As Johnston announced that the Colorado owner-operator would be receiving a plaque and a letter, he was interrupted.

“Hold on! Let’s call him!” was the animated response from many in the room. The group’s deep respect and affection for Mathews was evident.

“Why don’t we do it right now?” Treasurer Bill Rode of Eagle, Idaho, had his phone out of his pocket in a flash and rang up the number in Greeley, Colo., where Jim lives with his wife Cory. Rode put the call on speaker as it was ringing.

The boardroom speakers picked up the conversation, and all could hear as Mathews answered the phone. The brief, chatty call between an old friend and more than two dozen board members, board wives and others brought good news to Mathews regarding the special honor just bestowed on him.

Board members also inquired about his ranch. The Mathews ranch was heavily damaged by flooding in September of 2013, a disaster that struck more than 4,500 square miles across the state’s front range. Jim says they are still recovering from it.

Jim Mathews has been an OOIDA member since 1990. He says he started out at 13 helping neighbors in his hometown in Colorado. At 15, he went to work for a dairy farmer driving a 1941 Ford. The first semi that Jim drove was a 1962 Peterbilt cabover with a 270 Cummins with a 10-speed with 4th and 10th gears reversed.

Several years ago, the Land Line staff persuaded Jim to write about the “wild and woolly” days driving in the Rocky Mountains, a career that he says has left him with a lifetime of beautiful memories and white-knuckle experiences. “What’s your altitude, driver” was published in November 2010.

The OOIDA Board met in Grain Valley Oct. 21-25, at the Association’s national headquarters. The organization now has six members retired from the Board who are honored with the distinction of Director Emeritus. In addition to Jim, they are Ralph Fries, Escondido, Calif.; Fred Barnes, Kansas City, Mo.; Don Phipps, Ames, Iowa; Charles P. Parfrey, Spokane, Wash.; and John Taylor, Cross Junction, Va.

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