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Coffee klatch fostered community service

| Thursday, April 5, 2001

Dean Matchett belonged to one of the most prestigious coffee klatches in the city of Jeannette.

As a charter member of the 10:30 Coffee Club, which continues to meet at what was Felder's Restaurant, Mr. Matchett was able to continue the community service in which he was involved for more than 50 years.

Dean Wilson Matchett, a resident of Jeannette and a former treasurer of the Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, died from complications of health problems on Tuesday, April 3, 2001, in Redstone Highlands, Greensburg, Westmoreland County. He was 78.

'Dad and many of the other civic-minded business and professional men of Jeannette started the club in the early 1950s,' said his son, Lee Matchett, who was associated with his father in the accounting firm of Matchett & Co., of which the elder Mr. Matchett was the senior partner. 'It was the highlight of Dad's day, having coffee with his friends.'

Each day, the men would contribute to a kitty that enabled them to support various projects in their community.

'Through the years they bought the shutters for City Hall, made donations to the library and other charitable groups in Jeannette,' said Lee Matchett.

Born in Johnstown, Cambria County, and raised in Jeannette, Mr. Matchett was one of three children of the family of Samuel D. and Olive Wilson Matchett. Samuel Matchett was employed as a repair foreman for Bell Telephone.

In 1940, Mr. Matchett graduated from Jeannette High School, where he had played the coronet in the school band.

'One of my father's fondest memories as a member of the school band was to wear the uniform that crooner Vaughan Monroe wore when he was a member of the band,' Lee Matchett said.

As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Mr. Matchett met Doris Kreiling, a co-ed from the North Side.

'Mom and Dad sat next to each other in several of their classes. When Dad was drafted during his senior year and sent overseas, they continued to write to each other.'

Mr. Matchett was a member of an anti-aircraft artillery unit and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

'Dad, like many other veterans, seldom talked about his experiences,' said his son. 'But we could tell, he had seen a lot.'

Returning to Jeannette, Mr. Matchett enrolled in evening classes at the University of Pittsburgh while working at the J.C. Penney store in Jeannette.

In 1948, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, married Doris Kreiling and was employed by the former Glass City National Bank (now National City).

In 1948, while working at the bank, Mr. Matchett was approached by former bank employees Al Heasley and Ron Rigby to help them with the tax extensions for the IRS.

'They hired Dad on March 15, which in those days was the filing deadline for income tax forms,' said his son.

'They told Dad that it was only a temporary job and they would have to let him go after all the extension forms were completed. Dad agreed, and 52 years later, he was still there.'

Mr. Matchett eventually acquired the firm and along with his son, Lee, continued to operate the business.

When the Chambers of Commerce of Greensburg and Jeannette were merged in the early 1950s, Mr. Matchett, who was a CPA and an expert on working with school financing authorities, became its treasurer.

'My father was proud of his long commitment to the Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce,' said his son. 'Dad felt the chamber was an important fabric of the community.'

A year ago, Mr. Matchett was the recipient of the chamber's Outstanding Service Award.

Mr. Matchett's commitments also included membership in the First Presbyterian Church of Jeannette, the Masonic lodges and the Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Besides caring for his two cocker spaniels and playing with his grandchildren, Mr. Matchett enjoyed keeping in touch with his clients.

'Dad always said his clients were his friends,' his son said.

Mr. Matchett is survived by his son, Lee A. Matchett of Jeannette; a daughter, Nancy Crouse of Media, Delaware County; grandchildren, Jason, Erica and Lauren Matchett and Peter and Marina Crouse; and a sister, Edith Moore of Olney, Md.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris, in 1980, and his brother, Jay R. Matchett.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. today in the Lawrence McClure Funeral Home, 112 N. Second St., Jeannette, with the Rev. Sylvia Carlson officiating. Interment will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

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