Our amazing namesake is the late Loreen Mathews. Grandmother of our President/CEO DJ DAP. A christian woman who was a shining example of what we all strive to be in this day & age.
Loreen Mathews, born 1923 Houston County, Alabama just outside of Dothan Alabama, as Loreen Peoples. Her parents Richard & Ida Pittman Peoples, were sharecroppers raising her & her brother Johnel. Johnel married & joined the Navy, while Loreen married Robert Lee Walker & together they had seven children. Around the early 50's Loreen & Robert separated with & Loreen left Alabama, leaving her husband & moving to Panama City, Florida with all of her children. There she worked tirelessly as a maid at hotel on the beach to make a living for her & her children. Her husband had joined the Army, but after a short illness in service, he gained an honorable discharge. Afterwards he made his way to Panama City to try and salvage his relationship with his wife & family. In this short period Loreen spent her time as a housewife until Robert Lee migrated South to find work in the phosphate mines. At this point Loreen decided it would be best if she worked & took care of her children alone as the couple separated once again for good. She knew she came from a generation of cooks, which her mother taught her at the age of six. Standing in a chair most days just to reach the top of the stove. Her first foods she would learn to cook was bacon. She loved frying bacon. Now as a single mother she needed a job & through her church Deacon at Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church she was able to get a job at Tyndall Air Force Base as a cook in the Mess Hall. There she worked for 10 years as a cook. She then earned a job as a cook at Cherry Street Elementary School for many years until retiring with the school system. Even while going through the trials of segregation she would get up very early every morning to get her 7 children ready for school & would walk to work, then back home everyday after work. Everyday she would do this carrying pans of leftover food from the lunch at school. Some days someone would give her a ride home to the housing projects where she & her children had lived for 15 years. At that time you had to be in the military or worked for the government to live in the projects or your status would get you an apartment if available. Loreen was a faithful member of her church. She was an usher all of her adult life, up until she could no longer serve on the usher board. She attended the Regional Usher Board Conferences throughout Southern Alabama & North Florida annually as a representative. She was very proud when her church would get to bring home the attendance banner as the best church and worked feverishly when the conference came to her church. She spent weeks getting the food prepared for the guest to arrive. Loreen's heat was always warm. She would feed anyone who came to her when in need. She would ask a stranger if they were hungry or in need of a change of clothes. Her giving spirit was handed down to her children & their children. She would always say "feed my people". She met no strangers and anyone who came into her life they knew "Muh", short for Mother Dear, had food and would freely give, straight from her heart until she drew her last breath. Loreen met and married Mr. James Mathews around the late 1980s and they remained married until his death.