Robert O. Mathews Jr., 66, Howard Co. police chief

January 19, 2004

Robert O. Mathews Jr., a former Howard County police chief, died of cancer Jan. 12 at Talbot Hospice in Easton. He was 66.

Mr. Mathews began his career in 1959 with the Howard department and was the first officer to rise through the ranks to become chief. He was named chief in 1975 and resigned in 1978 after backing a losing candidate in the election for county executive.

"Bob Mathews was truly dedicated to his role as police chief in Howard County," said Howard police Chief G. Wayne Livesay. "Those of us who were fortunate to have worked with him are greatly saddened by his death."

During his tenure as chief, Mr. Mathews established the department's SWAT team, burglary unit and public ride-along program, as well as training and educational programs for officers. He designed the department's logo, which is worn on all uniforms.

After leaving the force, he was County Council secretary for six months, then managed a tavern. During the 1980s, he was community relations ombudsman for Merriweather Post Pavilion. In recent years, he had worked in private security, his family said.

Mr. Mathews was born and raised in Savage and graduated in 1955 from Howard High School. He attended specialized law-enforcement schools and graduated in 1966 from the FBI Academy.

He had lived in Columbia and Chesapeake City before moving to Easton last year.

His marriage to the Rev. Mimi Atwell, an Episcopal minister, ended in divorce.

Mr. Mathews was a former president of the Columbia Rotary Club and a member of the Ellicott City Jaycees and the St. Andrew's Society.

He was a former youth counselor and vestry member of St. John's Episcopal Church, 9120 Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City, where a memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 31.

Survivors include a nephew, Gordon Thomas Carpenter Jr., who is a Howard County police officer; cousins; and friend Patricia Garrett of Cecil County.

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