John M. Mathews

John M. Mathews - In Memoriam

The Ventura County legal community suffered a great loss with the passing of John Mathews on June 28, 2023.

John began his career at Nordman, Cormany, Hair & Compton in 1974, where he practiced law with many of his future partners and attorneys. He later became one of the founding partners of the A to Z law firm in September 1990.

John was one of the foremost water law attorneys in the county. He helped build coalitions among competing water agencies to tackle the difficult challenges inherent in developing and managing the scarce water resources available in the county. In that role, he was acknowledged as one of the leading advocates for sensible water management.

John brought a uniquely thoughtful, ethical, and collaborative approach to the complex issues he worked on. He sincerely listened to and sought to understand the concerns expressed by all participants in the decision-making process. And when he was ready to speak, his simple and direct language carried weight.

John and his clients developed long-term, strong working relationships as stewards of the region’s water resources while looking to the future for solutions, such as recycled water and conjunctive uses of surface and groundwater waters. In recognition of his ongoing dedication to protecting the region’s water supply, John received the John K. Flynn Groundwater Steward Award in 2009 and the United Water Conservation District Richard V. Laubacher Water Conservation Award in 2010.

Shortly after the formation of A to Z Law, John became its managing partner and maintained that position for over two decades.  His management style was casual and unassuming, demonstrated by partnership meeting agendas on small sticky notes, and colorful stories at A to Z’s Friday lunches. He always had a commonsense approach to the most complicated issues and was never short on time to lend a listening ear. John dealt with his professional and personal relationships from the heart. His sense of morality and ethics were legendary. He cared.

John was an avid sports fan, particularly cheering on his beloved UCLA Bruins. He rabidly attended football, basketball, and other sporting events, both locally and across the country.

Outside of the law, John’s passion was travel. He would plan extended vacations and brag that he and his wife never checked a bag on any airline. John was able to visit every continent and some of the most remote and inaccessible places on earth. On most trips, John and his wife, Sue, would take time to visit local schools, hospitals and care centers for the unfortunate and underprivileged.

John had a ready smile and infectious laugh. His unique sense of humor was always quick to be on display. He was cheerful and made friends easily. He was trustworthy and sincere. John was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Newbury Park and served five years as a bishop.

John leaves behind an adoring wife, three children and many grandchildren.  As part of the A to Z Law family, John leaves behind a legacy of excellence, kindness, compassion and humor.  He will be greatly missed by everyone at A to Z Law.