Donald Ray Matthews

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Donald Ray Matthews
Donald Ray (Billy) Matthews.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1967
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byWilliam C. Cramer
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornOctober 3, 1907
Micanopy, Florida
DiedOctober 26, 1997(1997-10-26) (aged 90)
Gainesville, Florida
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseMary Matthews

Donald Ray "Billy" Matthews (October 3, 1907 – October 26, 1997) was a U.S. Representative from Florida from 1953 to 1967.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Micanopy, Florida, Matthews attended the public schools of Hawthorne, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1929 and taught school in Leesburg, Florida, and in Orlando, Florida from 1929 to 1935. He also served as a high school principal in Newberry, Florida in 1935 and 1936.

He served as a member of the State house of representatives in 1935 was a member of the administrative staff of the University of Florida from 1936 to 1952.

He served in the United States Army 1942–1946 and was discharged as a captain of Infantry. He served as assistant State 4-H agent in the summers of 1928–1938.


Matthews was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-third and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1967), during which time he was a signatory to the 1956 Southern Manifesto that opposed the desegregation of public schools ordered by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Ninetieth Congress in 1966, defeated in the Democratic primary by Don Fuqua.

Later career and death[edit]

In his post-congressional years, Matthews worked as a consultant and administrator for the Rural Community Development Service of the United States Department of Agriculture from 1967 to 1969; and was an instructor of political science at Santa Fe Community College (Gainesville, Florida) from 1969 to 1977.

He was a resident of Gainesville, Florida until his death at the age of 90. He was interred at Hawthorne Cemetery.


  • United States Congress. "Donald Ray Matthews (id: M000253)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.