Obituary for Edward Eli Matney

Edward Eli Matney, October 24, 1927-September 24, 2020, of Wilmington, NC, formerly of Pinehurst, NC.

Edward Eli Matney was born October 24, 1927 in Salisbury, North Carolina to Eli Abraham Matney and Marie Hanna, naturalized citizens from Lebanon. He grew up in Danville, Virginia and attended George Washington High School, where he was head of the military corps and a member of the National Honor Society. After graduation, he was drafted into the army and attained the rank of sergeant. In 1947, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point where he was affectionately known to his classmates as “Moose”. Upon graduation as a second lieutenant of infantry, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to fight in the Korean War as an infantry company commander for the 2nd Infantry Division, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor during the battle of Outpost Harry. After the war he returned to serve at Fort Bragg until he was selected to attend graduate school at the University of Alabama, earning a Master of Business Administration degree. His next assignment at Fort Monroe, Virginia, was especially memorable because it was in nearby Newport News that he met and married Herma Lee Wooten. Their son, Marc, was born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Ed attended the Army Command and General Staff College. Ed’s next assignment took him to Germany as a comptroller, where his son, David, was born. Ed returned from Germany to Fort Benning, Georgia to serve as a battalion commander. Then, as the Vietnam War continued to rage, Ed was among a small group of elite officers selected to work directly with high level Vietnamese officials as a Province Senior Advisor. In this role, he made major contributions to the United States advisory effort in rebuilding the country. After Vietnam and a high level staff assignment in Hawaii, Ed attended the Air War College, the senior service college of the U.S. Air Force, where he was recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1974. His final assignment was as Director of Support for the JFK Institute for Military Assistance at Fort Bragg. In 1978, Ed retired as a colonel at the army post where his military career began.

Following his retirement, Ed and Herma made their home in Southern Pines, NC where Ed joined Wheat First Securities as an Investment Officer. He enjoyed a very successful career, retiring in 2003 as a Senior Vice President. During those years, Ed was very active in his community, serving as President of the Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills from 1990-1991 and continuing in a leadership role after that. He was moderator of The Community Congregational Church in 1985-1986 and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Officers Association of America. Ed was in demand by civic organizations and churches as a speaker on Vietnam and Korea and conducted a course on basic investments at the local community college. His community service was recognized by an award from his employer, James C. Wheat, Jr., in 1991. Eventually Ed and Herma moved to Wilmington, NC to be near their two sons and their families.

Ed lived his life to the highest possible moral and ethical code, inspired by West Point’s Code of Personal Honor. During his long and richly-varied life, Ed received many awards, honors, and recognitions. Among those not already mentioned were the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with V Device, Combat Infantryman Badge, two Senior Parachutist Badges, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Chuong My Medal awarded by South Vietnamese President Thieu.

In addition to his mother and father, he was preceded in death by his three siblings, Elva Saleeby, Thelma Martin, and Victor Matney. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Herma, his sons Marc and David(daughter-in-law, Anne), and his grandchildren Rachel, Paul, Sara, and Lillian, all of whom are proud of his service to our country and grateful for such a wonderful, caring, accepting father and grandfather.

A memorial service with military honors will be conducted at Boles Funeral Home in Pinehurst, on Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.

Ed’s wishes were that, in lieu of flowers, you send a donation to your favorite charity.

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Pinehurst.

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