Kirkcaldy prepares to bid a fond farewell to one of the town’s foremost sons this week following the passing of William Matthew.
Known to many as ‘Willie’, the much respected businessman is best remembered by many townsfolk for his involvement in coal, cars and latterly funeral services.
The eldest of four children, Willie was born on October 15, 1923, in Gallatown where he attended the local primary school then later the town’s high school, now Fife College.
After leaving school his father helped set Willie up in business by buying Ben Thomson Coal Merchant in 1947.
Soon after, his brother Alan returned from military service and joined Willie and W & A Matthew Coal Merchants was established.
From small beginnings from a rented a yard in Sinclairtown, by 1960 they had established a fleet of tipper platform lorries and were supplying 28 merchants throughout the Kingdom and all of Fife’s hospitals and schools.
Having married Christina (Ena) Rodger in March 1952 the couple had three children, Andrew, Graham and Sheila.
His sonAndrew joined the business in 1975, the same year Alan bought the Strathearn Hotel, eventually going on to leave the coal business.
Unhappy at the prospect of retirement in 1984, he surprised his family in by announcing he’d bought A.J. Crosbie Funeral Parlour.
With his daughter Shelia joining in 1989 the business has continued to grow changing to Crosbie Matthew Funeral Directors Ltd in 1993 to incorporate the family name.
It’s said his favourite job was to hand out order of service sheets at the crematorium, where he could greet the many folk that he knew in the town.
Not one for long meetings or procrastination, official business was often conducted while walking around Beveridge Park with Willie’s West Highland Terrier ‘Nicki’ and any decisions having to bemade by the time they finished one circuit.
In 1985, Willie then set up a successful repairs company Ravenscraig Motors.
Aside from work Willie was a long time supporter and former vice president of Kirkcaldy Rugby Club, with his involvement stretching back over 40 years, startign when his son Graham played.
He passed away peacefully at home on August 28, aged 94,survived by his thee children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
The family welcome all who wish to celebrate Willie’s life with a service at at KIrkcaldy Crematorium on Friday, September 7 at 12.45pm.