The Rev. Joseph Anthony Matz died Friday at St. Mary Manor, Lansdale.
Father Matz, son of the late Andrew and Josephine Keller Matz, was born in Hazleton on July 26, 1936. He received his early education in the Hazleton schools.
Father attended King's College, Wilkes-Barre, and studied for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore. Father Matz completed his studies at Our Lady of Loretto Seminary, Loretto. He was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 22, 1964, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Buffalo, N.Y., by the Most Rev. James A. McNulty, D.D., late Bishop of Buffalo.
Father Matz was assigned as assistant pastor at St. Mary's Parish, Jessup; St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Dunmore; Most Precious Blood Parish, Hazleton, and St. Vincent's Parish, Plymouth. He served as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Elkland, and St. Mary's Parish, Lattimer Mines. Father also served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Lake Silkworth, and St. Michael's Parish, Jessup.
Father Matz was instrumental in perpetuating the annual Mass held at the Lattimer Massacre Memorial to honor the 19 miners who were shot and killed at the Lattimer Massacre in 1897. When the memorial was dedicated on Sept. 10, 1972, by the United Labor Council and the United Mine Workers, many distinguished guests were in attendance, including Caesar Chavez, director of the United Farm Workers of America. The diocese received a letter of gratitude from the United Labor Council and the Lattimer Massacre Memorial Committee expressing their gratitude for Father Matz's participation in planning the Mass to commemorate this noteworthy event.
Father Matz is survived by two sisters, Theresa Davis, East Norriton, and Mary Joan Cawley, Jim Thorpe, and several nieces and nephews.
Viewing will take place at Fierro Funeral Home, 26 W. Second St., Hazleton, on Monday from 5 to 8 p.m.
A Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Church, 322 First Ave., Jessup. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Drums.