Funeral services for ‘Captain’ Willie begin Wednesday

Captain Willie Matthews, Jr. (Source: WAFB)
Captain Willie Matthews, Jr. (Source: WAFB)
Updated: Mar. 13, 2019 at 4:19 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man known for his selfless acts of compassion during the 2016 flood has died Saturday afternoon.

“Captain Willie” Matthews, Jr. passed away after suffering a massive heart attack on his way home from Bible study, according to a Facebook post by Baton Rouge Council on Aging CEO Tasha Clark-Amar. He was 67.

Matthews was sent to an ICU unit at Ochsner Medical Center on Friday following the attack. He was in a coma, before he later died Saturday at around 1 p.m., according Clark-Amar.

In a Facebook post, Clark-Amar wrote she had just the hospital and a “beautiful angel on Earth earned his heavenly wings.” Captain Willie regularly attended events and served on the senior advisory council at BRCOA.

Funeral services have been scheduled as follows:


  • Wednesday, Mar. 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at Desselle Funeral Home - 263 Eddie Robinson Sr. Dr.
  • Thursday, Mar. 13, 9 to 11 a.m. at Mount Carmel Baptist Church - 5262 Prescott Rd.


  • Thursday, Mar. 13, 11 a.m. at Mount Carmel Baptist Church

Captain Willie’s home flooded in August of 2016, but that didn’t stop him from rescuing others in his boat. He recounted his tale to WAFB’s Johnny Ahysen in September of 2016, when he was awarded our Hand it On gift.

When I left the house Saturday afternoon , it was dry over there. One of my friends called me and said her brother was over there. So we called him and ask him if he wanted to leave. And he said no. But he called back later and said, “Yeah, I think I’d better leave because the water’s getting up.” So I went and got my boat. And I went and loaded the boat, and when I got back over there, somebody else had rescued him.

“Do you believe in angels on earth?” Ahysen wrote. “I certainly do; I met one today. His name is ‘Captain’ Willie Matthews, Jr.”

When Matthews was honored in the nationally televised Louisiana Rising Flood Relief Concert, he said, "I hope the special reminds this city of how we were not rich or poor or black or white or young or old. We were all either wet or dry. And the dry people helped the wet people. That was it.”

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