In Memory of




Obituary for Anthony "Tony" Matlock

Anthony 'Tony' Matlock

January 12, 1928 - May 6, 2024

Tony was the beloved husband of Jean (née Tucker) for 71 years. He was a loving father to Dave (Lana), Mary Jane (Jim), John (Daiene), Ted (Mary), Chris (Shailla), a grandfather to Joel, Jessica (Wes), Robert (Meera), Michelle, Jenn, Andrew, Curtis, Claire, Aden (Aurelie), and a great-grandfather to Reid, Gracie, Kai, and Kiana.

He was predeceased by his parents, Theodore and wife Maria Sagan-Matlock, brother Stephen Matlock, and step-brothers and sisters Walter, Stanley, Edward, Casey Sagan, and Mary Branniff.

Tony's life exemplified the value of hard work, creating opportunities, and dedication to family, friends, and colleagues.

He was born in Kitchener in 1928 to his 'Pops', a Polish immigrant who arrived in Canada in 1913. Tony's mother, Maria, passed away when he was age 4.

During the Great Depression era, Pops, Tony, and his brother Steve operated a 7-acre farm along Mill Street in Kitchener while working other jobs to make ends meet. Tony fondly remembered selling chickens for 50 cents at the Kitchener market and strawberries for 25 cents per carton from his bicycle.

When Pops' health declined, Tony left school at age 14 for full-time work at Budds Department Store in Kitchener, stocking shelves and sweeping floors. By 16, he was working at Doon Twines, moving up the ranks as a rope-making machine operator. All the pay went to the home front where Tony helped run the farm outside of factory hours.

At age 16, the City of Kitchener planned to run a new sewer line through the family farm, dividing the land into a few odd lots. As Pops only spoke Polish and brother Steve was away in the army, Tony was the family interpreter to City Hall. This was awkward due to Tony's stuttering. Still, he negotiated to increase the number of lots on the farm property, next to the Rockway Golf Course - a course that also shaped Tony's life in other ways. Tony personally sold each lot, teeing up his entrepreneurial future and his father's retirement.

By age 20, Tony purchased 3.5 acres of land on Ottawa Street South, cleared the bush, and put up a two-story building with a kitchen, seating area, and dancefloor. This was the 'Matlock Gardens' rental hall for Friday night dances, corporate parties, and weddings.

The 1950s grew more eventful as Tony took night school classes to improve his public speaking for a life in sales. This is when he met Jean Tucker. They married two years later at St. Mary's Church and the reception took place, where else, at Matlock Gardens. Shortly after, Tony sold the land and building to the Concordia Club, which built the newer and larger facility that stands today. During this same decade, Tony found his niche selling appliances like wringer washers at the George Lobsinger Appliance Store in Waterloo. He and Jean started a family and purchased their first home on Liberty Avenue near the Auditorium.

At age 30, Tony teamed up with Ralph Meyer and Howard Davis to begin Washerama and Appliance Centre on King Street in Kitchener. The business thrived due to excellent customer service. The store, which supported fourteen employees and their families, eventually moved to the Woelfe Shoe building at Victoria and Michael streets.

Much of Tony's competitive drive was born of golf. His fascination with the game began at age five at home when the next-door sewer farm was turned into Rockway Golf Course. Tony watched as teams of horses would scrape and shape the greens and tees. By age 8, he was caddying for 50 cents per round, turning the money over to his Pop. Tony not only learned the game but learned about life from the industrialists and other personalities he caddied for. Rockway was a club where junior players were welcomed and encouraged by the senior golfers. Golf professional Lloyd Tucker let caddies play and coached them to keep their eye on the ball and on their futures. Tony was a natural, playing alongside the rising Moe Norman, Gerry Kesselring, Gary Cowan, and other future champions from Rockway. As an elite amateur golfer Tony was the 1947 Better Ball Champ, was 1949 Ontario Amateur semi-finalist, the 1950 Ontario Amateur runner-up, and won three George S Lyon Ontario Club Team Championships.

While Tony had dreams of turning professional, his love for Jean and business won out. He channeled his enthusiasm for the game into designing and building Merry Hill Golf Course. His vision with partners was for an accessible, affordable par 3 and 4 course in which players could tee off after their workday and enjoy a round before sunset. This idea was a hit. The nine holes grew to eighteen, then twenty-seven. Tony's next venture was Dundee Golf Club when he acquired 108 acres of land with the help of investors and created a longer, more challenging course. He personally planted over 1000 trees, often after dark by the headlights from a pickup truck.

Meanwhile, the appliance business was growing, as was his family anchored by Jean on the home front. Tony retired at age 60, spent time in Southampton, and created reunions for caddies, golfers, and pros from the Rockway era. He and Jean traveled Canada, US, Bermuda, England, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Kenya, and even Poland. Many of the trips included iconic, international golf courses.

Ever competitive, Tony won the 1986 Ontario Senior Champion of Champions, was a three-time member of Ontario's team at the Canadian Senior's Championships and for 14 years represented Canada internationally in matches against Great Britain and the USA as a member of the Canadian Seniors Golf Association. Tony proudly wore the Canadian team blazer in any country he competed and spearheaded much of the joshing and camaraderie among fellow golfers.

In 2013, Tony was inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame, not only for his sportsmanship on the links but as a community champion for having created two courses that continue to provide recreational and economic benefits for the region.

He continued playing golf into his nineties, mostly with wooden shafted clubs among friends from the Golf Historical Society of Canada.

In recent weeks, Tony spent his last days in comfort and peace with family at Hospice Waterloo Region. He passed naturally in his sleep exactly as he wished and knowing he was loved.

Tony's most cherished prize in life was not among his many trophies; it was always family. Never forgetting the loss of his mother and the struggles of the Depression era, he was thankful for his own family, whom he guided through hard work and dedication. He was also grateful for the wider Tucker and Matlock families who embraced him.

Tony came a long way in life from his childhood on the Mill Street farm, providing opportunities for family, friends, and colleagues throughout his 96 years. His positive impact will live on.

We thank all who appreciated Tony Matlock including at the Queens Heights, Westhill, and Terrace on the Square communities. Special thanks to our medical professionals at area hospitals and to the exceptional team at Hospice Waterloo Region.

Tony's family will receive relatives and friends from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2024 and from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2024 at the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick St., Kitchener (519) 749-8467. Prayers 7:45 p.m. Friday. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary's RC Church, 56 Duke St. West, on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 10 a.m. Interment Parkview Cemetery. Reception to follow at the Henry Walser Funeral Home.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to Hospice Waterloo Region, St. MARY'S R.C. Church or the Carmel of St. Joseph would be appreciated (cards available at the funeral home).

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