Cover photo for Virginia Matheny's Obituary
Virginia Matheny Profile Photo
1936 Virginia 2023

Virginia Matheny

November 20, 1936 — December 11, 2023

Virginia Rae Jackson Matheny passed away peacefully at her home Monday, December 11, 2023 surrounded by family, just three weeks after her beloved husband of 62 years.

She was born in Chattanooga, TN to William Ray and Alice (Jewell) Jackson in 1936.

In the second grade, her father bought the old Sykes farm on Harrison Pike and moved the family to Cleveland. She attended Arnold Elementary, Girls Preparatory School, and graduated with a BA in Interior Design from Wesleyan College in Macon, with highly praised acumen in chemistry. Virginia was keenly intelligent, focused, hardworking, detail-oriented, and always rooted in practicality and good common sense.

Virginia was also a beautiful woman with flawless, almost luminescent skin. Even at a young age she had a natural sophistication and elegance, casual refinement her hallmark. She had a knack for meeting the world with unassuming confidence and grace, and had a gift for making most things look easy, effortless and excellent.

The summer between her Junior and Senior years, she studied abroad for three months on an Art History tour of Europe, traveling to more than a dozen cities. Rome was her favorite. This trip gave context to her years of Latin study and inspired her eye for design. "My neck almost broke that summer looking up at ceiling frescos and tiles," she would say. This singular, awe-filled journey was one of the great highlights of her life.

After college, Virginia began working at the family business, Jackson Furniture Industries. She started in the filing room and eventually moved into sales. She took pride in learning the family business from the ground up and delighted in many blustery January trips to the Chicago Furniture Market.

In 1960 she was shopping for shoes at Millers department store in downtown Chattanooga. Her usual salesman was too busy and offered a new associate to lend a hand. As is the stuff of fairytales, the salesman happened to be a handsome and charming Leo Matheny. He slipped the perfect shoe on her foot, and it fit. The Cinderella story began. A date two weeks later launched what would become a lifelong romance between the pair.

They started married life in Chattanooga and moved to Cleveland in 1964 after buying some land. Virginia had great vision, both designing the house and decorating every inch of what would become their home together for almost 60 years. Under one roof they found meaning, raised a family, and deepened ties to their passions and communities. Their marriage was one of ease, symmetry, and synchronicity with Virginia at the helm.

Virginia led the PTA at Arnold and Stuart schools. She was president of the Cleveland Guild of the Chattanooga Symphony and worked tirelessly over a decade to bring students to Conn Auditorium to hear the great classical works. She was a member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, Cherokee Garden club, and board member at Jackson Furniture Industries for over 50 years.

Virginia was a member of Broad Street United Methodist Church for 80 years. She was a member of the Rodgers class and active in the Emmaus community. Her most impressive legacy was running with huge success and prosperity the Congregational Care Ministry, which is still active today, to assure that all members feel cared for and loved. She worked alongside four pastors over 18 years.

Virginia was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 62 years, William Haskell "Leo" Matheny; brother, Ronald Jackson; and sister-in-law, Sandra Shores Jackson of Cleveland; and brother/sister-in-law, James and Jody Matheney of Jacksonville, Florida.

She leaves behind son, Haskell "Hank" Matheny of Cleveland; and daughter, Amy Matheny (Kiki Haralambides) and Alex and Gabriella Kerrigan of Chicago, Illinois; brother, Roger Jackson; and sister-in-law, Carolyn Jackson, both of Cleveland; cousin Harriette Vandergriff; nephews, Keith Jackson (Amanda) and Tom Jackson of Chattanooga; Dr. Mark Jackson of San Angelo, Texas, nieces, Jeni Matheney-Arquit and Joanna Matheney of Jacksonville, Florida. The family wishes to thank staff, nurses, and doctors at Tennessee Oncology (Dr. Sylvia Krueger), Cleveland Regional Cancer Center (Dr. Lisa Virostek), Cleveland Medical Associates, Hearth Hospice, and caregivers Carol Corum, Faye Longley, and Donna Massie.

Family will receive friends 11-1p.m. with a service at 1p.m. Friday, January 5, 2024 at Broad Street United Methodist Church, Cleveland. Honorary Pallbearers: Nick Townsend and Brent Petit. Private Interment will follow.

Service will be livestreamed at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Broad Street United Methodist Church, or the Museum and Cultural Center at 5 points,

Please share condolences and memories of Virginia on her memorial webpage at

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 5, 2024

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Broad Street United Methodist Church

155 Central Avenue Northwest, Cleveland, TN 37311

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, January 5, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Broad Street United Methodist Church

155 Central Avenue Northwest, Cleveland, TN 37311

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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