Cover photo for William "Leo" Matheny's Obituary
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1931 Leo 2023

William "Leo" Matheny

October 7, 1931 — November 19, 2023

William Haskell "Leo" Matheny was born in Cookeville, TN to Haskell and Louise (Blackburn)

Matheny in 1931. A few years later, the family moved to Chattanooga, TN. Here, Leo and his

younger brother, Jim, began working a morning paper route, one they maintained throughout high

school. Then after school each day, Leo would chaperone children on the Chattanooga Incline as

they made their way home to Lookout Mountain from Bright School. These two principals of hard

work and helping others became navigating principles in his life.

He attended Central High School, was quarterback of the football team, Best All-Around, and

achieved the highest ROTC ranking of Colonel. Following school, he served in the National Guard

and graduated from Tennessee Tech where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha International

Fraternity, majoring in business. He was an honorary Kentucky colonel and member of The

Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.


After graduating college, Leo began a real estate business while still working part-time in the shoe

department at Millers in downtown Chattanooga. It was here that he fell for a young customer,

Virginia Rae Jackson, while fitting her for a smart pair of shoes. Love blossomed, the two married

and soon they moved to Cleveland, TN where they lived and built a family for almost 60 years.


Leo was a true Renaissance man, committed to cultivating a sense of curiosity for the world around

him. His passions were vast and varied, but when Leo took an interest, he committed with every

fiber of his being.

His love of horses began with Tennessee Walking horses, followed by thoroughbreds. He owned

many throughout his life. One of his fondest memories was when two of his horses won races at

Arlington in Chicago on the same day. Leo was never as happy as when he found himself training

horses in the early mornings at the track in Ocala, FL. He was a proud member of the American

Thoroughbred Association.


His next passion was art. He took classes in order to truly appreciate the beauty he instinctually

loved. Later, he began painting himself. He also found a calling in art collecting and did so happily

for 50 years. He adored gifting paintings to friends and family.

He was also an avid golfer and member of The Cleveland Country Club and The Honors Course in



Then, at age of 65, he picked up a guitar and began playing. What followed was a love of fingerstyle

guitar and collecting guitars. Though arthritis made it difficult for him to play, he played daily.


As Senior Vice-President of Sales at Jackson Furniture Industries / Catnapper, Leo was instrumental

in securing Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck accounts. He worked more than 50 years at the

company and served on the board. After retiring, he worked with his son to build Bentley Park

subdivision followed by work at Haskell Interiors.


Above all, he was a man of faith. A long-time active member of Broad Street United Methodist

Church, Leo was a lay pastor. He founded Congregational Care Ministry in 1984, which is still active

today, to assure all members feel cared for and loved. His greatest legacy was as Sunday school

teacher and member of the Kelly Class since 1965 where he taught most Sundays and was known

for leading the singing with great flair.



William Haskell "Leo" Matheny passed away peacefully at his home Sunday, November 19, 2023

surrounded by family and serenaded with hymns by his beloved Kelly class.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother James Rodney Matheney and sister-in-law Jody of

Jacksonville, FL, brother-in-law Ronald Jackson and sister-in-law Sandra Shores Jackson, of



Leo leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Virginia Jackson Matheny of Cleveland, son, Haskell "Hank"

Matheny of Cleveland, and daughter Amy Matheny (Kiki Haralambides) and Alex and Gabriella

Kerrigan of Chicago, nieces Jeni Matheney-Arquit and Joanna Matheney of Jacksonville, brother-in-

law, Roger Jackson and sister-in-law, Carolyn Jackson, both of Cleveland, nephews Keith Jackson

(Amanda) and Tom Jackson of Chattanooga, Dr. Mark Jackson of San Angelo, Texas, loyal friend

Nick Townsend (Krista) of Cleveland and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. The family wishes to

thank staff, nurses and doctors at Tennova, Tennessee Oncology, Cleveland Medical Associates,

Dialysis Clinic Cleveland, Memorial Heart Institute, Hearth Hospice, and caregivers Carol Corum,

Faye Longley and Donna Massie.


On Thursday, November 30, family will receive friends 11:30-1pm with service at 1pm at Broad

Street United Methodist Church, Cleveland, TN with music provided by Leo's dear friend, Doyle

Dykes. Private Interment will follow.


Service will be livestreamed at


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Broad Street United Methodist Church

at or the Museum and Cultural Center at 5 points,

Please share condolences with the family and/or memories of Leo by visiting his memorial webpage

and guestbook at

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, November 30, 2023

11:30am - 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.

Memorial Service

Thursday, November 30, 2023

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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