Jeanette Richter Matzke was born Oct. 17, 1937 in Taiton, Wharton County, Texas to Hattie (Naiser) and Alden John Richter Sr. She passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 7, 2019 in Lake Jackson with family and friends by her side.
Jeanette’s education began at the Hahn School, a two-room schoolhouse, where there were only two children in her grade. She graduated from El Campo High School as valedictorian of her class in 1955. She attended Wharton County Junior College and Brazosport College, where she earned an associate’s degree in business and office management.
Jeanette met the love of her life, Joseph Raymond Matzke, on Nov. 27, 1952 at the wedding of George and Rita (Nohavitza) Kresta. Joe Ray and Jeanette married on July 26, 1956 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in El Campo. They would have celebrated 63 wonderful years of marriage in 13 days. Their lives were blessed with four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Jeanette always said her greatest accomplishments were loving her husband, children, grandchildren and parents.
Jeanette joined the El Campo Catholic Daughters of the Americas at age 19, and later transferred her membership to St. Michael’s in 1991 when they chartered Our Lady Queen of the Lake No. 2364 Court. Jeanette was honored in 2011 with her 55th year pin at Our Lady Queen of the Lake 25th anniversary. At the time of her death, she was the longest standing chapter member with 63 years as a Catholic Daughter.
Jeanette’s volunteer service to her church spanned her lifetime and included serving for many years as secretary of the Pastoral Council, CCE teacher, Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) chaperone and Eucharistic Minister. She loved music and was an accomplished pianist, volunteering to play the organ for weekly masses at St. Michael’s from 1966 until 1993.
In addition to her volunteer ministries, Jeanette worked as the bookkeeper for St. Michael’s Catholic Church for 42 years from 1967-2009 and was the full-time church secretary from 1970 to 1977. Jeanette worked for five different priests in those years, including Father Ron Titus, Father Bill Hamilton, Msgr. Bill Robertson, Father Jim Welsh and Msgr. Leo Wleczyk. In 1994, Jeanette also joined the staff of St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Clute as bookkeeper and retired in 2009 after 15 years of service. Jeanette enjoyed working with Father Jim Lynes Jr. and his staff at St. Jerome’s and began splitting her time celebrating our Lord in both parishes.
Jeanette retired from Dow Chemical Company in 1995 after 16 years of service, and was a Certified Professional Secretary (CPS). Jeanette passed the CPS exam the first time, and went on to teach CPS courses at Dow and mentor others through the certification process.
In her “spare” time, Jeanette enjoyed playing bridge, antiquing, cooking for her family and attending her grandchildren’s school and extra-curricular events. She was their biggest fan. Jeanette and Joe enjoyed family vacations in New Braunfels when their kids were young, and later they traveled the world with family and friends. Their travels included some amazing trips organized by Shirley and Mikey Burwell Travel.
Jeanette is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Joe Ray Matzke; her three sons, Chris and wife Cheryl (Harp) Matzke and their children Andrew, Michael and Nicole of Plano; Keith and wife Paula (Israel) Matzke and their children Emily and Blake of Lake Jackson; Craig and wife Lisa (Mensik) Matzke and their children Chase and Camille of Lake Jackson, Chelsea (Matzke) Holt and husband Scott and their son Benjamin of Washington, D.C. and daughter Kim (Matzke) Tirlia and husband Tim and their son Bret of The Woodlands. Jeanette is also survived by her brother, A.J. Richter Jr. and wife Claire (Pfeffer) Richter of El Campo and a beloved group of cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren and cherished friends.
The family wishes to thank the kind, loving and hard-working staff of Oak Village Nursing Home, Creekside Nursing Home and Heart to Heart Hospice for their compassionate care. We also want to thank them for watching over Joe Ray during this difficult time. We feel blessed by our Father, Joe Ray’s devotion and outpouring of love to our mother during her lengthy illness. We are grateful to all the friends and groups that visited, worshipped and performed for our mother. We know she enjoyed them immensely.
Visitation will be held on Monday, July 15, from 6 - 8 p.m., with a Christian vigil service starting at 7 p.m. by Deacon Agustin Cruz, followed by the Rosary. The Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday July 16, at 10:30 am. The celebrant will be Msgr. Leo Wleczyk. All services will be at Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 100 Oak Drive South, Lake Jackson, Texas, 77566. Pallbearers will be Chase Matzke, Andrew Matzke, Michael Matzke, Bret Tirlia, Blake Matzke, Scott Holt and Benjamin Holt, and honorary pallbearers are Jeanette’s cherished friends in the “No Name Group.” Committal will follow immediately at the Restwood Memorial Park Mausoleum in Clute.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a charitable donation be made in Jeanette’s honor to the Memorial Funds of either St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Lake Jackson, or St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, 359 W. Marion St., Clute, TX 77531, or to your favorite charity.
Further information is provided by Restwood Funeral Home & Memorial Park at www.restwoodfuneralhome.com