Sage of Dunsmuir Collects Stuff, Dispenses Humor

Times Staff Writer

He is a poet, printer, philosopher, philanthropist, author, lecturer, tennis player, motorcyclist, race car driver and runs a used car lot and a hock shop on his half-acre here.

H. Radway Matz II, the sage of Dunsmuir, is 81 and says he’s just getting his first wind.

“I’ve been married and divorced seven times and put all seven wives in my will. None of them could keep up with me,” boasts the spindly 6-foot, 180-pound, silver-goateed octogenarian.

Matz is a pack rat. There’s barely room to move in a home filled with his life’s collections.


“Please Don’t Shudder At The Clutter” reads a sign in the entry hall.

He has poetry and sayings he runs off on his printing presses posted on walls in every room.

Some samples:

- “He has achieved success who has lived along, laughed often, and loved much, who has left the world better than he found it, whose life was an inspiration: whose memory a benediction."--Ralph Waldo Emerson.


- “Great work is performed not by strength but by perseverance."--Samuel Johnson.

- “Character is not an inheritance. Each person must build it for himself."--unattributed.

Matz is a lifelong vegetarian, who lives on uncooked vegetables and fruit.

“I have never had anything to do with alcohol, tobacco or coffee,” he adds.

He calls coffee “the deadly brew, one of the biggest problems in America today. It clouds the mind, ruins the body.”

The spritely old man buzzes up and down the streets of Dunsmuir, population 2,300, and the mountain roads of Siskiyou and Shasta counties in Northern California on his dozen motorcycles and his handcrafted version of a 1927 Bugatti race car.

There is a new toy in his back yard, a hang glider, that he has yet to try. And he is reputed to be a terror on the tennis courts.

Matz was 52, in 1959, when he moved to San Francisco from Chicago.


“In San Francisco it was uphill, downhill and no damn place to park. I moved to Oakland.” Then he moved to Dunsmuir, where he has lived for 19 years.

He has a used car lot on his half-acre with 18 old cars and trucks--all with flat tires--parked in the weeds. “Business has been slow,” Matz admits. He is a job shop printer and runs a hock shop out of his living room.

He has a dozen television sets lined up in his home “so I can watch a dozen different shows and events at the same time if I want to.”

To celebrate his 80th birthday last year, Matz began passing out silver dollars to children in Siskiyou and Shasta counties on street corners and in classrooms. He claims he gave away $6,300.

“He came in one day and gave a silver dollar to every boy and girl in our school,” recalled Ray Kermode, principal of Castle Rock Elementary School in Castella. “Radway Matz is our local character. You never know what to expect from him.”