MATTHEWS Richard Ellis Ford
Appointed 6 February 1988 Order of New Zealand (ONZ) War Service Medal 1939-45 Fellow of the Royal Society Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Born 20 November 1921 Hamilton, New Zealand
Died 19 February 1995 Auckland, New Zealand
Cremated, no known grave
Matthews was born in Hamilton, New Zealand in 1921 and was educated at Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland. He then attended Auckland University College, graduating with a Master of Science degree with second class honours in 1942.
After serving in the 7th Antitank Regiment of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Italy from 1943 to 1945, Matthews undertook PhD studies at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, graduating in 1948. He was appointed senior mycologist at the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1954 and senior principal research officer in 1956. In 1962 he was appointed professor of microbiology at the University of Auckland, retiring in 1987.
Matthews was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1962 and in 1978 he was awarded the Hector Medal. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974. On 6 February 1988, Matthews was appointed a Member of the Order of New Zealand.
Richard (Dick) Ellis Ford Matthews was a distinguished plant virologist, a proud fourth-generation New Zealander, and a man of great energy, enthusiasm and scientific integrity. He pioneered the use of nucleotide analogues for interfering with virus infection; he showed the merits of turnip yellow mosaic virus as a model for studying many aspects of plant virology; he informed and influenced many aspiring plant virologists worldwide by his comprehensive textbook on the subject; and he led the drive to establish molecular biology in New Zealand.