Colleagues and loved ones of a former Port Huron radio reporter remember him as a passionate journalist and devoted father.
Jim Matthews, who was killed Friday at his Chesterfield Township home in a suspected murder-suicide attempt, first worked as a radio disc jockey for WSAQ and then as a reporter for WPHM from around 2000 to 2015, according to several of his colleagues. on the radio.
At the time of his death, Matthews had worked in the Detroit market for about seven years as an overnight anchor for WWJ Newsradio 950.
Matthews’ Radio First colleagues described him as calm, laid back and consummate professional. Once he moved to the news, he covered county commissioners and city council meetings.
Bill Gilmer, Matthews’ former supervisor at Radio First, said Matthews was an honest and good reporter, and he knew he could always be counted on for a quality story.
“He was good, damn good,” Gilmer said.
Matthews was thorough in his reporting and was well known and respected among local officials. He cared about his community and was passionate about radio, said WPHM morning show host Paul Miller.
“He was always very helpful, always went the extra mile, very conscientious and really cared about the community,” Miller said. “When you live in a community and you work in local media and you cover local media, that’s your community and so I think he really felt that responsibility.”
Deidre Murch, who worked with Matthews at Radio First from 2005 to 2011, said he was good at mentoring young journalists and sparking their passion for broadcasting.
She said Matthews was patient with young reporters and helped them learn more about the city and its officials. He took the time to accompany her to city council meetings and introduce her to sources. He pointed out what she was doing well and gave her points for improvement.
Matthews made news fun, like when he trained Murch to write his first feature story. Matthews had a good sense of humor and often left encouraging and funny notes with assigned tasks for the day, Murch said.
“It made a difference,” Murch said. “It made my day better.”
Even after Murch left the radio station, the two remained friends. Murch said Matthews has never been shy about reaching out and celebrating your accomplishments.
Joe Nicolai, Matthews’ brother, said his brother was very intellectual. He developed his passion for reading, music, radio, movies and TV shows from an early age. As a child, Matthews often pretended to be a DJ or frequently visited the bookstore.
Colleagues of Nicolai and Matthews said Matthews was very proud of his children and enjoyed talking about their accomplishments. Nicolai said Matthews often comes to his house for family gatherings on birthdays and holidays.
A gofundme has been set up for Matthews’ funeral expenses. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/jim-matthews-family?. As of Tuesday, gofundme had raised $1,710 of its $20,000 target.
Another gofundme has been created to benefit the children of Matthews and his girlfriend. Visit gofundme.com/f/helping-some-kids make a donation. On Monday, gofundme had raised $16,033 of its target of $25,000.
More on crime
Arthur Williamson, 54, of Pontiac, was charged Monday with first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder and three counts of unlawful imprisonment. He is being held without bail.
Williamson is accused of killing Matthews, as well as attacking his 35-year-old girlfriend and their two young children at their home in the 33000 block of Bayview Drive. Police say Williamson attempted suicide after the attack.
Matthews’ girlfriend and their 10-year-old son remained hospitalized on Tuesday. Their other child, a 5-year-old girl, was discharged from hospital, police said.
Police described the attack as a domestic situation and said Williamson was known to family but declined to define their relationship.
Williamson was scheduled to attend a probable cause hearing at 9 a.m. Oct. 5 in District Court 42-2 before Macomb County District Court Judge William Hackel III.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or [email protected] The Detroit Free Press contributed to this story.