LARGO, Fla. —
Matthew E. Sopher of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., passed away peacefully with his children at his side Monday morning, Feb. 25, 2013, in Largo Medical Center from complications of an extended illness. He was 81.
Mr. Sopher was born Oct. 7, 1931, in Grove City, the middle son of Matthew Dentin Sopher and Virginia Hitchcock Sopher of Grove City.
He graduated from Grove City High School in 1950 after playing on the Grove City Eagles football team with his two brothers.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged after several cruises associated with the Korean conflict.
He returned home to attend Grove City College and major in accounting. While there, he worked part time at Shelly Funeral Home, joined Beta Sigma Fraternity and decided to "stay in town" to establish his career.
He was soon swept off his feet by the sweet smile of a lovely brunette nurse in a blue convertible and married Alice Cleo Sholler of Harrisville on July 23, 1955.
Matt and Alice were the proud parents of Melinda Beth "Mindy" Sopher of Raleigh, N.C., a faculty member at North Carolina State University; and Michael Eugene Sopher of Indian Rocks Beach, a lumber broker.
The Sopher family made their home in Grove City until Alice passed away in 2004. Matt then moved to Florida, where he was delighted to share his final years with Michael and his family, Joann Nelson, and her children Shannon, 17, and Eric, 14.
He was employed by Cooper Bessemer in Grove City, then managed several trucking companies for the majority of his life, ending his career as general manager of J Miller Express in Mercer and president of its dry bulk division. He did private and contract accounting work after he retired.
Matt was a member of Tower Presbyterian Church, Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Fraternal Order of Eagles, all Grove City. He was a leader in the Grove City Jaycees, with whom he helped create the annual Grove City Street Fair.
"Mac Jr." followed in father "Mac's" footsteps and became a Master Mason at Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 603, Grove City, then served as DeMolay advisor when son Michael was master councilor.
He was an active member of the American Trucking Association and enjoyed traveling with Alice to ATA conventions around the country. His membership in Grove City Country Club included great memories with a wonderful longtime golf foursome and "at least two" holes-in-one.
He was thankful for the love of his siblings, his older brother Robert "Bob," Hermitage, and his wife Sally; his sister, Evelyn Robertson, The Villages, Fla., and her husband Michael; his sister, Frances Herring, Humble, Texas, and her husband Bob; and his younger brother, Dick "Richard" C., and his wife Carole, Bethel Park, Pa. Their combined 14 children gave Matt and Alice wonderful nieces and nephews to enjoy and cherish.
Matt was predeceased by his parents; his younger brother, Dick Sopher; and a brother-in-law, Mike Robertson.
Matt was a model of strength and grace as he battled both melanoma and leukemia, while his wife and daughter fought three other cancers. He loved the Marine Corps, Chinese cooking, golf, travel, reading, Pittsburgh Steelers football, professional boxing, "dancing with his bride," breeding English bulldogs and bragging about his children. Most of all, he loved Alice.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to "The Sopher Scholarship Fund" to support higher education graduate work and, as Matt said, "perpetuate the good family name" at www.kappadelta.org/makefoundationdonation; help kids have a nice Christmas through the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation at www.toysfortots.org/donate/tribute-donation.asp; or Pretty in Pink Foundation to directly help cancer survivors at www.prettyinpinkfoundation. org
The family expresses sincere appreciation to Matt's caregivers at Largo Medical Center and Hospice, Bay Pines Veteran's Hospital, his western Pennsylvania oncology team; Father Bob of Calvary Episcopal Church in Indian Rocks Beach; and their wonderful family, "extended family" and lifelong friends, Pat and George Shontz of Madeira Beach, Fla., formerly of Grove City, for the exceptional care and love Matt received through the years.
Service: As per his wishes, the family will host a celebration of Matt's life including military honors on the beach in Florida later this spring. Please post condolences and share memories at www.davidcgross.com
Published March 2, 2013 in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201A Erie St., Grove City.