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Veteran who died homeless to be honored in Versailles

Updated: Jan 29

A military burial will be held on Tuesday

(VERSAILLES, Ind.) – A Navy veteran who died while being homeless in Osgood will be honored with a proper burial on Tuesday. 

67-year-old Donald Mathews was originally from California and found his way to Ripley County in late 2022. 

Residents in the Osgood and Versailles area may recall seeing Don, and his Bentley, walking along U.S. 421.

Ripley County Sheriff's sergeant Corky Houseworth met Matthews several times. He learned that Matthews previously served in the Navy and was hoping to get to Alaska. 

Houseworth, along with several other community members, often tried to help him find shelter and resources. 

He was provided a camper to stay in temporarily, and sadly, that camper caught fire and Matthews and Bentley were both killed in the blaze on February 17, 2023. 

Why is the Burial Happening Now?

It took a significant amount of time to get a positive identification of Matthews, while the Ripley County Coroner also extensively searched for next-of-kin.

However, there are no known family members. 

Several community organizations have stepped up to donate funds and resources to properly honor Matthews. 

The Johnson Township Trustee helped secure a casket while Gilpin’s Monuments donated a gravestone that will feature Don’s full name and a paw print of his dog. 

The Milan and Osgood American Legion’s will also conduct a military service during the burial. 

Sergeant Corky Houseworth said, “Regardless of his past and his travels, he ended up here and we want to make sure that we do the right thing and honor him appropriately,” 

The graveside service will take place at Cliff Hill Cemetery in Versailles at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30.  

Community members are encouraged to attend the service.


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