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Ann H. Mathews, a singer and opera lover, dies

Ann H. Mathews sang in several church choirs.
Ann H. Mathews sang in several church choirs.

Ann H. Mathews, a soloist who performed with various groups and sang in various church choirs, died Aug. 2 of complications from Parkinson’s disease at the Maples of Towson. The longtime Rodgers Forge resident was 88.

The former Ann Hardigg, daughter of Jeptha Hardigg, a consulting engineer, and his wife, Alberta Regester Hardigg, was born in New York City and spent summers on their farm in Bellport, New York, on Long Island and later in Mathews, Virginia.

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Home-schooled by her mother as they accompanied her father on his travels because of the nature of his work, they settled in Washington when she was in high school.

In 1954, she married L. Brent Mathews, also a music lover, who was budget director for the old Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. and later AT&T. After living in Salisbury, the couple settled in Baltimore.

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Mrs. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1969 and a master’s degree in vocal music, also from Peabody, in 1971.

She taught voice at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, at Dickinson College in Carlisle, and for many years at Chestertown’s Washington College.

Mrs. Mathews performed in solo recitals as well as with various ensembles, including the Rococo Co, a baroque chamber music group, and while teaching at Dickinson appeared with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and Reynaldo G. Reyes, an internationally known concert pianist.

She toured with the Whitlowe Singers and performed in a duo with her friend Ron Oaks as the Greenbriers. She was joined by her husband and sang in a number of church choirs, some of which included First and Franklin Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, and their church, Maryland Presbyterian Church in Towson. She was also a paid soloist at the old Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.

At her church, she was very active with its Mission Committee and its sister-parish church, Maria Madre de los Pobres parish in La Chacra, San Salvador. Her personal relationship with the church spanned nearly 30 years, and she made her last visit to it in 2012 when she was 80.

She was a passionate fan of Italian opera, and family members said her Italian accent was “impeccable.”

Mrs. Mathews tutored several Japanese physicians in English during their time at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which resulted in many lasting friendships. She also cared deeply about social justice issues, and, family members said, sought to be “open and accepting of all people, and to have compassion for those who were struggling or suffering.”

The longtime resident of Dunkirk Road in Rodgers Forge was an accomplished gourmet cook and an avid gardener, and also enjoyed listening to opera and classical music. She and her husband, who died in 2015, were world travelers and had visited Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland, and had also taken a river cruise through Russia.

Because of the pandemic, plans for an online service are incomplete.

Mrs. Mathews is survived by a son, Christopher B. Mathews of Kingsville; two daughters, Claire Mathews McGinnis of Rodgers Forge and Ann Peyton Garliss of Raleigh, North Carolina; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

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