Linda and Harvey Mathason met on a blind date back when computer dating was a novelty. They didn’t meet online, but friends who introduced them did. So Linda still credits “computer dating” with their hookup.

They both lived in Northeast Philadelphia. Mr. Mathason was a Central High School and Albright College graduate, and their first date was around New Year’s Eve. By the following October, they were married.

“You could say we hit it off,” Linda said. “He was my best friend.”

Mr. Mathason, 79, died on Friday, May 29, of COVID-19 at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital. He had fallen ill at home and was diagnosed with the coronavirus when he arrived at the hospital.

His wife said the response to his death has been overwhelming.

“Everybody who ever met him said he was a good person,” said Linda Mathason, who also tested positive for COVID-19 but suffered few effects. “I’m still getting phone calls and cards all the time.”

Mr. Mathason was a quality assurance analyst at the former Rohm & Haas chemical company, but his other interests drove him to achievements, too. He gave seminars on creativity. A professional photographer, he chronicled many weddings, and Linda has piles of photos from nature hikes and family gatherings.

Mr. Mathason received a letter of thanks after he sent a photo of the American flag to then-President Jimmy Carter.

“He had a kind soul, and was a dreamer who had a passion for creativity, photography, poetry, chess, butterflies, magic, and dad jokes,” his son Brian wrote in a tribute.

His pets loved Mr. Mathason, too.
Courtesy of the Mathason family
His pets loved Mr. Mathason, too.

Mr. Mathason and his wife lived in the Indian Creek section of Levittown until they needed a bigger home for sons Brian and Mark and daughter Lisa. So they moved to Bensalem, where Mr. Mathason built a fourth bedroom in the basement.

Mr. Mathason (front center) with his family. He faced challenges but overcame them and never lost his sense of humor.
Courtesy of the Mathason family
Mr. Mathason (front center) with his family. He faced challenges but overcame them and never lost his sense of humor.

He was tough, Linda said. He overcame depression and cancer. He had part of a leg amputated, so he used an artificial one. But he never lost his sense of humor or decency.

“He was just a nice, kind person,” Linda said.

“Whether he was being playful, loving, mischievous or challenging, he looked at everyone with a twinkle in his eyes,” his son wrote. “He was a hero to many.”

In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Mathason is survived by two grandchildren, two sisters, and other relatives.

A celebration of his life is to be later.

Gary Miles, gmiles@inquirer.com