Funeral arrangements have been announced for , the Portsmouth fisherman who died Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Newport Hospital after a water rescue at Third Beach, Middletown.
Mathias, 48, of 83 Stubtoe Lane, is being remembered as a loving father and devoted chef.
An employee of the on Thames Street in Newport, he was a member of the pub's unofficial family for nearly a quarter of a century.
"He worked here 24-25 years," said Brick Alley co-owner Matt Plumb. "Some of the employees here started with him 25 years ago.
"To have someone you worked with the whole time, they are crushed. It's like the loss of a family member."
Mathias, an experienced fisherman, . The investigation into his death is ongoing.
The Portsmouth native began working at Brick Alley Pub as a line cook. He worked his way up to the lead position of executive chef and kitchen manager, a role he's held for the past 15 years. As kitchen manager, Mathias led a team of 25 employees.
"It's a big job," Plumb said. "He had an undeniable work ethic...He was an awesome, awesome guy."
Born in Newport on Jan. 4, 1963, he was the son of Jean (Bishop) Mathias of Portsmouth and the late William "Bill" Mathias. Mathias grew up on a family farm along Middle Road. The farm no longer exists, but many family members still reside in town.
Gary earned a bachelor's degree with a double major in political science and English, and a master's degree in public administration.
While earning his degrees at the University of Rhode Island, Gary worked in several local restaurants: The Ramada Inn, Salva Regina, the former Greenhouse, and the former Andrew's, learning his way around a kitchen.
His plans were to pursue a career in public administration, but he discovered his true calling as a chef when he went to work for the Brick Alley Pub.
Gary and his recipes have been featured several times in magazines and other periodicals including The Providence Journal (2006), Bon Appetit, The Taste of Newport (2008) and the Mercury (2011).
Mathias loved to ride his motorcycle, and was honored to be a member of the Viking Riders.
He belonged to the Portuguese American Citizens Club, proud of his heritage. He was a member of the Newport Athletic club, working out at least three times a week.
He supported the Polar Bears, and, for the past five years, he dove into the ocean for the Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1 – his birthday present to himself. He donated blood as often as the Rhode Island Blood Center would allow him.
Mathias once swam the Sakonnet River at age 13 in a race sponsored by the Cross River Swim; his mother had done it before him, and he did it for her.
A man of varied interests, Gary embraced whatever he was doing, and did it well. His love of all things art, from photography to water colors to music to theater, is evidenced by his memberships to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, the many live concerts and plays he attended, and the photographs and artwork that grace his home, some he created himself. But his bookcases are stuffed not only with books about art, but also with books about his many passions: trains, kayaking, cooking, gardening, music and sports, Bruins hockey, Red Sox baseball and Redskins football.
He read them all, often several times. But it is his passion for fishing that fills most of the spaces on those shelves.
"He loved to fish," Plumb said. "Odds are that if he wasn't at work or with his daughter, he'd be fishing. He fished at Sachuest Point all the time. I'd say it was his favorite fishing spot."
Besides his mother, Gary is survived by his daughter, Nicole Mathias of Portsmouth; his brother, Glenn Mathias and his wife Donna (Dutcher) Mathias of Portsmouth; his sister, Suzanne Mathias Foster of Tolland, CT; his companion, Martha (Rountree) Nunes of Portsmouth; his nephews, Charles William Foster of Tolland, CT, and Daniel Dutcher and his wife Maryrose (Villacorta) Dutcher of Portsmouth; and his former wife, Kerri Rogers of Portsmouth.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. in the , 55 West Main Road.
His funeral will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. from the Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, with a Mass at 10 at , 1697 East Main Road. Burial will take place in St. Columba Cemetery, Middletown.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Nicole L. Mathias Scholarship, c/o People's Credit Union, 858 West Main Rd, Middletown, RI 02842.