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George René Mathey

George René Mathey, 91, died peacefully July 9, 2020 at his home at Riverwoods Exeter, New Hampshire. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, his childhood was spent largely in France. With the political situation becoming increasingly dangerous, his mother, the late Frances Glessner Mathey, and his sister Simone relocated to the States, settling in New York City, while his father, the French architect René Louis Charles Mathey, remained in Paris to continue his practice. Later, René would work with the Resistance, ultimately sacrificing his life in that cause.

George attended school in New York while the family split their time between the City and The Rocks, the Glessner family estate in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Here he spent many happy weeks and summer months with his cousins, Ann and Alice Edge, and Ian, Ellen, and ViVi Glessner forming deep, lifelong bonds in the process.

He attended Phillips Exeter Academy graduating with the class of ’47. He was active with his class for many years working with old friends to support their school. He received his BA from Harvard College class of ’51, and his MArch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1954.

While in college, he met the late Sheila Webb of West Palm Beach, Florida They married that summer, living in Boston while George began his architectural career at Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott.

He would remain at SBRA for all but two years of his career when he joined his friend Cliff Stewart to form Mathey & Stewart Associated Architects in the early 60s. Returning to SBRA, George would eventually become president of the firm leading it for sixteen years from 1978 to 1994. He was deeply committed to the firm’s success and the success of its people as attested to by many of his former colleagues who have admiringly described the positive impact he had on their careers.

His family life was equally rich as he, Sheila and their young daughter, Lisa, moved first to West Acton where two sons, Tim and George, were born, and then in 1960 to Ipswich where the family enjoyed a wonderful, loving life. George became very active in the Ipswich community, serving over many years  on the Historic Commission, the Planning Board (co-authoring zoning by-law updates among many other accomplishments), and in many capacities on The Trustees local property committees.

Sheila died from cancer in 1988. Over time, George moved forward, marrying Nancy Morris Durand. As their marriage began, George designed and oversaw the construction of their house on Argilla Road where he and Nan spent twenty happy years. In 2010, they moved to Riverwoods.

George was predeceased by his first wife, Sheila and his son Timothy and is survived by his second wife, Nan, daughter Lisa, son George, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements will be announced by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.

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