John P. Matheu
02/21/1922 - 02/09/2018

John Prendergast Matheu, 95, a longtime Short Hills, NJ resident, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 9, 2018. Born on February 21, 1922, John was raised in San Francisco, California, the third of Katherine and John P. Matheu’s four children. John attended St. Brigid Elementary School, St. Ignatius High School, and Santa Clara University, where he was quarterback on the football team and was a rower. His college education was interrupted by World War II during which he served his country as an aerial observer in the 11th Armored Division of General Patton’s Army in Europe. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was present at the liberation of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. On his return to the U.S., he completed his degree at Santa Clara and shortly thereafter met the love of his life Helen France, and they were married in 1948. Their daughter Kathleen was born the following year. John joined Pfizer, Inc in sales and marketing, and the family moved to Los Angeles, where their two daughters Christine and Rochelle were born, and then to Chicago where, where their daughter Jeanine was born. Their final move in 1959 was to Short Hills, New Jersey John worked at Pfizer headquarters in Manhattan as National Sales Manager and was then named Vice President of the Pfipharmecs Division in 1973. After 35 years he retired from Pfizer and started his own consulting business in the pharmaceutical and medical device field, and he developed a number of start-up companies, such as Puri-Tek, Inc., partnering with like-minded colleagues who became lasting friends. He was involved with his own business for over 30 years, working up until the last year of his life. He loved the challenge and camaraderie his work gave to him. John and Helen spent 66 loving years together, raising their family, enjoying the company of their grandchildren, traveling, hosting innumerable family celebrations, and attending cultural events in the region. John happily served as patriarch of the family, always advocating the great importance of family to one’s well being. He was loved by his family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues for his generosity of spirit, his story telling, his fine cooking, his sense of humor, and his great fortitude. John was predeceased by his beloved wife Helen, his daughter Rochelle Matheu Dempsey, his sisters Maureen Matheu and Patricia Stamps (Al), and his sons-in-law William Cohen, Kevin Gaynor and Scott Boyll. He is survived by his sister Eleanor Matheu, his daughters Kathleen Gaynor, Christine Matheu and Jeanine Boyll; his stepson Brant Miller (Lila) ; son-in-law Thomas Dempsey; and his grandchildren Jillian Dempsey (Alex), Elizabeth Dempsey, Scott Dempsey, Laurel Cohen; and his great grandson Orin Matheu Dempsey Miller. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend the viewing on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 from 6-8pm at Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home, 415 Morris Ave., Springfield, and the Funeral Mass on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at 10am at St Rose of Lima Church, 50 Short Hills Ave., Short Hills. Entombment will follow at St. Teresa Cemetery, 136 Passaic Avenue., Summit. Contributions may be made in John Matheu’s memory to the Santa Clara University Class of 1944 Endowed Scholarship Fund, or to the charity of one’s choice. For more info or to send condolences to the family, visit

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