White Blossoms

Mary Florence (Houghtaling) Matthews

November 24, 1923 ~ November 18, 2020 (age 96)


Naples, FL – Mary Florence “Flossie” Houghtaling Matthews, 96, died peacefully November 18, 2020 at the Vitas In-Patient Hospice Unit in Naples, Florida. She may or may not have been singing along to “Coal Miner’s Daughter” at the time.

The daughter of the late Herbert Blake and the late Dinah Baskett Houghtaling of Henderson, NC, she married John Edward Matthews Sr in 1942 and moved with him to Easton, PA (he was “a good looking fool”).  The couple worked for the Dixie Cup factory and retired in 1976 and moved to Delaware (Pot-Nets) to enjoy fishing and boating. In 1999 they moved to Marco Island, FL. She was well known at Smokehouse Bay as “Marco Mary” for flying her American flag every day outside her condo and bringing it in every night (and everyone loved her deviled eggs).

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her handsome husband, John; adoring son, John Edward “Goose” Matthews Jr; caring daughter-in-law, Patricia Ann Canning Matthews; loving sister, Dorothy Rosa Houghtaling Bostic and loyal brothers, Herbert Blake Houghtaling, Jr., and Joe Baskett Houghtaling. 

She is survived by admiring granddaughter Marla Lea Matthews Chandler of Darien, CT and grandson-in-law Jason Richard Chandler; great-granddaughters Katharine Blake Chandler, Caroline Canning Chandler and her namesake, Mary Quinton Chandler; and sister-in-law Dorothy B. Houghtaling of Cape Carteret, NC; and best-friend, Betty Boultbee of Marco Island, FL.

Mary Florence, or rather “Flossie”, was born November 23, 1923, in the Spring Valley section of Vance County, NC not far from the Virginia border on a tobacco farm. She graduated from Henderson High School (barely) in 1940. She claimed she was “no-good” at math (unless she was counting all the 2-pointers she sank as the star of the Henderson basketball team). She set a lot of records in the 1930’s that still haven’t been broken.

She played volleyball and softball. She earned awards running track too. She was 5’11” and rarely wore a dress (or shoes.) She claimed she was fast as a “gazelle” because as a child her daddy made her run a mile each way to fetch ice and he insisted that ice not melt before she returned. They had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but a lot of love.

Mary’s fondest memories were cheering at 99 out of 100 Bucknell University basketball games during the four years her son, “Goose”, played there. She was never quiet in the stands, and never shy on the dance floor at the SAE house, where she was quickly nicknamed “Mama Goose”. Later, after the birth of her granddaughter, Marla, she became “Grandma Goose.”

She worked full-time running eight machines on the line at the Dixie plant.  She kept a very clean house. She could be found up on a ladder washing windows in her 60’s and vacuuming well into her mid-90’s. In retirement she enjoyed fishing and crabbing in Delaware and shelling on the beaches of Marco. She attended Wesley United Methodist church on Marco Island and enjoyed volunteering to usher and belting out “Amazing Grace”. She also loved a Chardonnay at The Esplanade every Friday night (or two).

Anyone who knew Mary appreciated her abundant energy, her feisty grit, her easy laugh and her incredible generosity. She will be greatly missed.

 A celebration of Mary’s life will be held in early 2021 at a date TBD.

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