MATOWITZ, CLAYTON (12 Dec. 1919-25 Mar. 1992) was a well-respected Cleveland physician. Born to GEORGE MATOWITZ and May Becker, Clayton grew up on the west side, first living on Trowbridge Avenue and then moving to Spring Road in the city’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood. A proud alumni of ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL, he was a member of the Class of 1939. He was an outstanding high school football player.
Influenced by family friend Dr. George Patrick O’Malley, Matowitz decided as a young man to become a physician. He never seriously considered any other career. Upon graduating from Ignatius he began his pre-med studies at John Carroll University before entering the medical school at St. Louis University.
Taking part in a program sponsored by the United States Navy, Matowitz completed medical school in three years due to the emergency created by WWII. His class in medical school included Dr. ROBERT MCEVOY, who remained a lifelong friend.
Matowitz’s naval service included a stint in the medical detachment of the USS Huntington, CL - 107. While onboard, he took part in its cruise down the east coast of South America as well as a visit to Africa. He left the service as a lieutenant junior grade and spoke fondly of the navy as long as he lived.
In April 1944 he married the former Agnes Elizabeth Weber at Our Lady of Good Counsel. They were high school sweethearts, and were married for almost fifty years. Together they had two sons, Mark and Mel.
Returning to Cleveland after the navy, Matowitz began a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the old St. John Hospital located at W. 65th and Detroit.
In late 1951, Clayton’s father, Cleveland Chief of Police George Matowitz, died after a prolonged illness. Shortly after, Clayton began to display symptoms of a major neurological disorder. From being the picture of robust good health he found himself in a stryker frame at Crile Hospital, paralyzed from the neck down.
He faced a long and difficult recovery. He approached this with his customary hard work and determination, but was never able to completely overcome his disability. From the age of 32, his walking was impaired, and he faced lengthy episodes of chronic pain. He was pragmatic, and a strict realist. Despite the new challenges he faced, Matowitz worked hard to remain active. He enjoyed swimming and taking annual fishing trips to the French River in northern Ontario, something he first did with a group of neighborhood boys in 1932.
His medical practice thrived. He estimated in later life that he delivered several thousand babies and he had a large number of patients who prized him for his empathy and consideration of their needs.
After practicing medicine for thirty five years he retired in the early 1980s. He devoted the rest of his life to his family and a devoted circle of friends. In 1992, Matowitz died at home quietly in his sleep at the age of seventy two.
Thomas Matowitz Jr.
Last updated: 7/5/2023