John Mathew, better known as “Raju” was called to meet Jesus face to face at 12:40 pm on April 23, 2023. He had a quiet nature, was a man of few words but a person with a big heart for others. His final days were spent surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren. While we are saddened by his passing, we are full of joy knowing that in his final days he assured us of his joy and his certainty in spending eternity with his savior Jesus Christ.
Raju was born on October 15, 1950 to the Anazhikathu house in Kottarakara, Kerala, India. On March 10, 1977, he married Daisy and for the next 45 years, they experienced the joys and hardships of life and raising their three sons Dains, Shines and Wins. Their early years were spent apart from each other while Raju worked in Saudi Arabia. While there, he overcame many challenges including two near death experiences.
Raju and Daisy immigrated to the US in 1990 as a family and spent many years working hard to give their three boys a good life. Raju worked many years and was a skilled craftsman who took pride in being able to fix anything around his house without the help of others. He worked hard to put his children through school and college. Raju never claimed to be the perfect father, but he instilled in his children the value of hard work, the importance of taking care of others, and mostly to have a heart for those in need. Upon retirement, Raju spent most of his time taking care of his grandchildren and tending to his garden.
Raju held many titles: son, dad, husband, friend, but his favorite title was Pa or Appacha (grandfather). His joy in life was connecting with his grandchildren at their level and making them laugh immensely. He always looked forward to their visits and spending time with them. He had the biggest impact on their lives through his playful attitude and his ‘kid at heart’ mindset. You could often find him playfully arguing with them and competing at games no matter how silly it may have been. He was an excellent chef and is known for a few of his signature dishes. He quietly gave beyond measure, and his heart was always heavy at seeing others’ suffering.
As Raju got sick over the past few months, he spent many nights at the hospital. He spent time listening to his favorite songs and getting closer to his Savior. He reassured Daisy several times of his hope in Christ. In his last few days, he told his sons that he was at peace and ready to get to heaven.
Raju loved and cherished his wife. He could not bear to be a moment without knowing where she was always. Daisy was his lifelong confidant and towards the end of his life, he took time to continuously remind her of how grateful he was for her care, devotion and love. Even in his last few days, the first thing he asked for in the morning was where she was and if she was ok. Their lives together spanned hardship and abundance, hunger and feasting, grief and joy, sickness and health, loneliness and rich community. John loved his three daughters-in-law as his own daughters and often reminded them of that. He had a special and unique relationship with each of them.
This is Raju’s story. A life filled with hard work and dedication to his family and close friends. Its significance won’t be measured in dollars and cents or titles and popularity. His life is defined by greater things: his children, his grandchildren, the lives he’s helped them build, the hearts he’s warmed, and the stomach’s he’s filled with his signature dishes. His family has great joy knowing of how sure he was of his place in heaven. Because of his trust in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we know he is with His Savior without any more suffering or pain.
Raju is survived by his loving wife, Daisy Mathew and his devoted children, Dains & Sonia, Shines & Merly, and Wins & Soni. Raju has 5 grandchildren that love and adore him, Madison, Jude, Devon, Bethani & Farryn. He is also survived by his mother, Chinnamma Yohannan, Brother Jacob John, Sisters Susan Philip and Lizzy Stephen. He is preceded in death by his father A.C. Yohannan. His church family at Hebron IPC OKC has been just that, family. There are countless relatives and friends across the world who will miss him dearly but rejoice in the hope that they will see him again.