Dr. Kelly K. Matthews, a renowned economist, passed away peacefully from this mortal life on Friday, October 6, 2023, at his home in North Salt Lake. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn Matthews of 58 years, his daughter, Dr. Maria M. Richards (Royce) of Eden, Utah, his son, Dr. Bradford K. Matthews (Christy) of Alpine, Utah and his daughter Teresa K. Erickson (Dr. Josh) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, eleven grandchildren (two currently serving LDS missions) and nine great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved very much.
Equipped with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Brigham Young University, Dr. Matthews started his career with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. He then went on to obtain a PhD in economics from the University of Colorado before joining First Security Bank in 1973 as the Chief Economist. As Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at First Security Bank, he was primarily responsible for interpreting difficult and uncertain economic news for the entire business community. Through the generosity of the Eccles family, he became the economic voice of reason throughout the Intermountain West. Kelly willingly shared his wisdom by giving thousands of speeches and interviews throughout his career. During more than 36 years at the bank, he interacted with national and local government officials, politicians and business leaders to form public economic policy. His concluding position was Executive Vice President and Economist at Wells Fargo Bank. Dr. Matthews also taught Commercial Banking at the University of Utah for nearly 30 years and received an honorary doctorate from Utah Valley University. He served on the Governor's Economic Panel and as president of the Salt Lake Visitors Bureau, and traveled for many years to serve on national economic boards. He maintained his love of economics right up until the end, with the day before his passing spent expounding with his family the economic consequences of rising interest rates, rising inflation, and the inability of the government to spend less!
Separate from these achievements, he was a sheepherder at heart. He was born on May 24, 1944, to Harvey Kennington and Florence King Matthews in Montpelier, Idaho in the Bear Lake Valley, and he loved returning to his roots. He could just as easily talk to you about the pure blood lines of his sheep as he could about economic policy. He loved old country music, big belt buckles, cowboy hats, horses, dogs and guns – a real cowboy at heart. He was the youngest of five children, and described his childhood as “idyllic.” In his youth he was a great baseball, softball, and football athlete and would often spend evenings listening to baseball games on the radio (they were better that way). Later, he became a devoted fan of the Utah Jazz (especially Stockton and Malone), and absolutely loved BYU football and basketball.
Kelly served in the Irish mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1963 to 1965, and would fondly share stories from those formative years of his life. He described his Mission President, Stephen R. Covey, as perhaps the most important external influence in his life, and tried to emulate President Covey’s example and patterned his public speaking and leadership style after his approach. After returning home from his mission, Kelly married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lynn Jensen, who he described as brilliant, beautiful, and the most unique person he ever met. Together they were dedicated parents who instilled the values of hard work and the importance of education in their three children who they love so dearly.
There will never be another Kelly who can have push-up contests with his grandsons, tell you about the risks facing the economy, and then bear a strong testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a firm believer in the LDS faith and a life-long student of its teachings and tenets. His favorite place to shop was Deseret Industries, where he was always on the lookout for a new book about church history or doctrine to add to his impressive library and more importantly to share with his family. At his core, he was a teacher who loved to share the things that mattered the most to him with those around him. For the many whose lives he touched, his legacy, faith, fun sense of humor, and loving impact will never be forgotten.
A viewing will be held at Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main, Bountiful, Utah, 84010, on Thursday, October 12, 2023, from 6 - 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Friday, October 13, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the LDS meeting house located at 200 South Eagle Ridge Drive, North Salt Lake, Utah, 84054 with a viewing from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m., prior to the funeral service. Interment to follow at Memorial Lakeview Cemetery, 1640 Lakeview Drive, Bountiful, Utah.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.
Services will also be broadcast by the ward on ZOOM at: https://zoom.us/j/95069951691?pwd=ZE8xWDNUZHFoc2k0MUFNbm9yUU9GUT09%20%5Cl%20success#success