SEDALIA, MO — Longtime Missouri State Senator Jim Mathewson passed away at his home in Sedalia on Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 83 years old.
Born in Fristoe, Missouri, Mathewson graduated from Warsaw Public Schools in 1955. He briefly went to college before serving in the U.S. Army. He married his wife, Doris, in 1965 and the two owned and operated LeRoy’s Steakhouse in Sedalia until it burned down in 1974.
After this turning point, Mathewson was recruited by friends to run for the Missouri House of Representatives where he was elected in 1974 and served two consecutive terms. In 1980, Mathewson was elected to the Missouri State Senate where he served until 2005.
In 1984, his Democratic colleagues elected him the Senate majority leader. In 1989, he was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate where he served eight years, making him the longest-serving President Pro Tem in Missouri history.
After term limits were enacted in 2005, Mathewson stepped down from his senate seat but remained active in Missouri politics by serving on the State Fair Commission and the Gaming Commission.
The former state senator was such a strong advocate of the State Fair in Sedalia that the indoor arena was eventually named the James. L Mathewson Exhibition Center in 1994 by former Gov. Mel Carnahan.
Funeral services for Matthewson will be held Friday, October 22, 2021 at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church in Sedalia.