ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis community said goodbye to Martin Mathews, co-founder of the Mathews Dickey Boys & Girls Club, at his homegoing service on Wednesday.

He passed away last week in his home at the age of 97.

Countless children and adults knew the late Martin Mathews. In 1960, Mathews cofounded the Mathews Dickey Boys & Girls Club in St. Louis Handy Park along with the late Hubert “Dickey” Ballentine.

Mathews-Dickey is a United Way nonprofit organization devoted to youth development. Its mission is to produce well-educated, physically active, and hopeful young people, with families at the center of its efforts.

Its vision is that every child has the skills, resources, and support to become a productive adult.

Mathews created innovative sports and learning opportunities like the volunteer tutorial, which paired math, reading, and language arts “study buddies” with club members.

“The thing about Mr. Mathews that I remember more than anything else when he came across a child, he became a child,” said Tom Sullivan, club director. “And any time he could help that child, he did it, even if it was behind closed doors and the child didn’t know it.”

His funeral is Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at Graham Chapel on the Washington University campus.

In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to send donations to the Martin Mathews Legacy Fund.