Monday, June 16, 2014

Paul Matthies, R.I.P.

Paul Matthies "in the day".  Photo courtesy of Dan Matthies.

Just in from Veteran LACo Ocean Lifeguard, Dan Matthies:

"Dear Friends

It is with great sadness that I inform you of my father, Paul Matthies’, passing. Pablo died this past Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:30. He had been in failing health for some time, but these past two weeks saw a rapid decline. The good news is that he did not suffer.  

He was a part of the “Greatest Generation” and lived life to fullest. He was an avid surfer, diver, photographer and swim school owner. But his most proud achievement was his career as an LA County Ocean Lifeguard. His life defined the term “Waterman” and set an example for the rest of us to follow.

No way around it. Our family is sad beyond measure and my mother is heartbroken. He will be missed. Personally, he was simply the best damned dory partner I ever had.

Via Con Dios Pablo

Dan Matthies"


Matthies, Paul Frederick
May 17, 1921 – June 14, 2014

Paul Matthies, known to most as “Pablo” passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at the age of 93. Paul was a resident of Hermosa Beach for nearly all of his life and was proud to call it home.

Paul is the son of Richard and Lina Matthies who emigrated from Germany in 1914. He is the sixth of seven children. His first family home was the second of only two houses built on 28thstreet. He attended Redondo Union High School and graduated in 1940. He then joined the army and served as Staff Sargent in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. His love of language allowed him to quickly learn the local language and was able to act as an interpreter along with his assignment to the 307th Ordinance Ammunition Renovation Company. He met the love of his life, Aneta and they married in 1949. They went on to spend 65 wonderful years together.

Paul was very active in the community serving on numerous boards and commissions. As owner of the Hermosa Swim Gym, he taught many a South Bay resident how to swim. Pablo is probably best known for his long career as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard. His athleticism and strength is legendary, especially in the dory surf boat. He was still competing and winning until his retirement in 1975.

Pablo loved to sing. He sang in his church choir and later joined the South Bay Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He was later approached by the Easy Reader to be their “Surfing Santa”. For the next 25 years he delighted young and old as Hermosa’s version of Christmas.

Paul is survived by his wife Aneta, sister Madeline, daughter Dinah Stovall and her husband Ken and their daughter Jessica, son Dan Matthies and his wife Nina and their two sons Marty and Mo with his wife Meghan. He also has four great grandchildren, Isabella, Logan, Aurora and baby Brynn.

His life’s celebration is planned for Thursday, July 17th 2014 on the sand south of the Hermosa Beach Pier at 9:00 am. A paddle out will follow.


Easy Reader News Obituary for Paul Matthies:

Bob Burnside's YouTube Video Tribute to Paul Matthies:


Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family as they mourn the loss of their family patriarch and one of L.A. County's greatest Ocean Lifeguards, Paul Matthies.  His life and his leadership we celebrate even as we grieve his passing.  Rest in peace.


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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Alf Laws said...

Of all the lifeguards I've met along the way I would have to say that Paul Matthies was the personification of a 'Waterman'. No politics or hidden agendas in his bag... it was all about the task at hand. A fierce competitor, a Coach, a Surfing Santa and always the Merry Prankster... he was all these things and more. A couple of my childhood memories of him include him surfing the breakwater as big as it gets on a 12' L.A. county Balsa wood rescue board! & the image of him in his personally customised "Armless Hooded Wetsuit Vest"---that made him appear more of a Knight of Sir Arthur's Round Table than a County Beach Lifeguard---His larger than life athletic physique & equally large good character are going to leave footprints in the sand never to be forgotten by those of us lucky enough to know him.

Bob Burnside said...

''a legendary, peaceful, mature and kind person who pioneered in the lifeguard field"...and loved his family and lifeguarding.The stories of "Pablo" will remain for eternity..My journey with him bring back wonderful days we spent together enjoying that which we loved so dearly..The Ocean and our family of lifeguards. Suave con los angelitos mi amigo..

William Maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Gudmundsson said...

Paul was a great role model for many of us recurrent lifeguards.
One of the best Waterman that has lived.
I will miss not seeing him around Hermosa Beach and sharing stories.
Memories of him will remind us what it is to be a good lifeguard and human being.

Paul (Pablito) Gudmundsson

jack ettelson said...

We will never see his equal. One nod from him at 10th Street Hermosa and you wanted to measure up.