Fallen Hero PFC Richard A. Matheis, United States Army

PFC Richard A. Matheis

May 7, 1950 - May 8, 1970
United States Army

Recently we met a very nice couple from Adams, Minnesota. Terry and Carol Kiefer came to pick up this oil painting of her brother, PFC Richard Matheis, who lost his life in the Vietnam War.

Richard (Dick) Matheis grew up just south of Adams, MN in the town of Johnsburg where he attended St. John’s Catholic School. He graduated from Adams High School in 1968. During his school years he was an avid baseball fan and player. Dick was manager for the Adams High School Baseball team, and was also a member of Future Farmers of America. Carol tells me that her brother was small in stature (barely 5’4” and 120 lbs.) but was very big when it came to his thoughtfulness and concern for others. He had a large circle of friends, and was always ready to help family and friends in any way he could. His classmates have honored him at every class reunion, and often included is parents as honored guests.

Dick volunteered for the draft and was inducted into the Army in July of 1969. In November of that same year he was sent to Vietnam. Carol states: “On May 7th - 1970 his company was sent to Cambodia. On May 8th while on a mission, Dick volunteered to walk Point for Doc – who was the medic. It was not his turn to do this, but he volunteered. So every year on the anniversary of May 8th some of Dick’s closest Army buddies write a Letter to the Editor in our local town newspaper in memory of him.”

In the summer of 2009 Johnsburg had a Sesquicentennial Celebration, and one of the highlights was a Cemetery Walk. A local student did an excellent job of portraying Dick, and once again some of his Army buddies came – giving them their final closure which they were never able to have in 1970.

This was my first request to do a Hero from the Vietnam War era, and it was my honor to paint this vibrant young man, who gave his life for our country – just one day after his 20th birthday.

We enjoyed our visit as Carol shared other memories of her dear brother that she and so many others will keep in their hearts forever.

Portrait sponsored by:
- Jerry and Mary Price, Rochester, Minnesota