Missouri State Senator and Sedalia native James L. "Jim" Mathewson died at his home Monday at the age of 83 surrounded by family after a battle with cancer. He was 83.

Mathewson, a Democrat, served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1974 to 1980, when he was elected to the Missouri State Senate where he served until 2005. In 1989 he was elected unanimously by his peers to serve as President Pro Tem of the Senate, a position he held longer than any previous member. This is according to a report from KRCG.

On Twitter, Governor Mike Parson wrote of Mathewson, "He was a committed public servant and proud supporter of the Missouri State Fair. Jim’s work in the Missouri Senate will continue to positively impact Missourians for generations to come. Teresa and I extend our condolences to Jim’s family and friends."  The Governor also said, "Mathewson will be remembered for his dedication to Missourians and love for this great state."

Mathewson was born on March 16, 1938, in Fristoe. After graduating from Warsaw Public Schools he attended Redding College; California State University at Chico; and served in the U.S. Army. After serving in the military, he returned to Missouri and married Doris Angel Hicks on December 20, 1965. His wife Dorris would pass away on June 14, 2017

Throughout his career in public service, Mathewson received many honors including the "Friend of Education Award" from Missouri School Boards Association; an Honorary Doctorate of Education Degree from Missouri Western State College; the Hallmark Missouri Public Service Award in 1991; and the University of Missouri System Presidential Citation.

Mathewson retired from the Missouri Senate in 2005 due to term limits. After his legislative career, Mathewson was appointed to the Missouri State Fair Commission and Missouri Gaming Commission.

In Sedalia, Mathewson was active in business. He and Dorris operated LeRoy's Steakhouse in Sedalia from 1965 until the business burned in 1974. And later in life Mathewson established National Valuation Services and owned Sedalia radio stations KDRO and KPOW.

Governor Carnahan recognized Mathewson's untiring legislative support for the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia by surprising him with an executive order naming the fair's indoor arena the James L. Mathewson Exhibition Center. In addition to helping the fair with funding and capital improvements, Mathewson worked for years to improve funding and facilities for State Fair Community College.

Arrangements are pending with Heckart Funeral Home of Sedalia.

Additional biographical information on Senator Mathewson was sourced from his obituary from KSHB, and his biography posted on the Missouri Senate website.

61 Pictures of Smiling Faces and Sights of the Mo. State Fair

The best way to experience the Missouri State Fair is to go to the Missouri State Fair. Eat the food, enjoy some cold beverages, ride the rides, see the shows, go to the concerts. The second way is through the smiling faces and photos of the people there. During the 2021 Missouri State Fair, I asked you on Facebook, to post your state fair photos. What struck me most about your photos were all the smiling faces. Here's the collection of the photos you posted on our Facebook page.