James “Frog” Matthews

James Gale Matthews, 70, retired Freight Relocation Specialist (truck driver), as he called himself, made his final trip on Saturday, February 11th, 2023, as he arrived into Heaven surrounded by his tribe after a long haul battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

Jimmy Gale was born August 13, 1952 to Jim and Betty Matthews of Sparkman, AR. He graduated from Sparkman High School in 1970, where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Janice Kight Matthews. Known as Frog, to most people, he began his independent contractor trucking career hauling wood chips and shavings locally. After a few years, he began his long haul trucking adventures working for D & G Trucking hauling produce from the west coast to the Midwest. His next adventure led him to Melton Truck Lines as a “flatbed cowboy” hauling a variety of freight all across the “flyover” states of the midwest. He then began working for Lucus Trucking out of Camden hauling shorter distances for several years. The last 25 years of his trucking career, he hauled chips, sawdust, and lumber for the family business, Jim Matthews’ Trucking.

Frog didn’t meet many strangers and accumulated a wealth of friends and trucking buddies all over the country during his over-the-road years. He was a master mechanic and fixer of all things. He believed in getting every ounce of use out of something no matter how many times he had to fix it. He viewed life as an adventure and took mom along for many in their 52 years of marriage. From riding motorcycles, houseboats, the lake era, scuba diving, camping, and their last adventure of mules, they lived life BIG! Their last big adventure was several years ago to the wilderness of Montana with their mules. Frog enjoyed making leather crafts and saddles, his mules, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends. He was the best husband, father, brother, son, and pappy and left a legacy of determination, hard work, and love for all of those that knew him.

Jimmy Gale was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws; Clarence (Laverne) Kight, and a great grandson, Walker Ray Daniell. Survivors are his wife, Janice; his daughters, Jo Ann (Jeremy) Vann of Sparkman, Jodie (Mike) Daniell of Arkadelphia; a sister, Patsy Matthews of Arkadelphia; grandsons, Colby, Brady, Tyler (Peytyn) Daniell all of Arkadelphia; a special brother; Mike Vaughan (Donna) of Bearden, a special son, Rob (Rachel) Seale of Sparkman.

A celebration of life service and visitation will be held 11:00 AM Friday, February 17, 2023, at Sparkman First Baptist Church with Brother James Guthrie officiating.

The family will receive friends from 10:00 AM until service time at the church.

Immediately following the service the family will receive friends in the fellowship hall for a time of reflection.  

Honorary pallbearers are Mike Vaughan, Phillip Shuffield, Rob Seale, Mike Nessler, Mike Williams, Donny White, Johnny Hopkins and Mike Mann.

Memorials may be made to Sparkman Cemetery, Delamar Cemetery or First Baptist Church of Sparkman.

Final arrangements are entrusted to The Welch Funeral Home of Arkadelphia. Visit to sign the guest book.

Categories: Obituaries

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