A Hudson Valley man who operated a local pharmacy and served on a local school district's board of education passed away.

In a Facebook post, the Village of Ellenville Police Department mourned the loss of Raymond Matthews, 56, of Ellenville who passed away Tuesday at Vassar Brothers Hosptial in Poughkeepsie after a battle with a brief illness.

The Facebook post called Matthews "a community icon, a true gentle giant, a man who deeply cared about every member of this community."

He graduated from Ellenville High School in 1980, according to his obituary. He was a trustee of the Ellenville Central School Board and Vice Chairman of the Ellenville Regional Hospital Foundation. He was also a member of the Ellenville Regional Hospital Board of Trustees and the Free and Accepted Masons.

"He really believed in education and appreciated and respected the entire staff and administration of the Ellenville Central School District," Ellenville Police Department Cheif Phillip Mattracion wrote on Facebook.

Matthews was a third generation pharmacist at Matthews Pharmacy in Ellenville.

"When you went into Matthews Pharmacy Ray would always greet you with a smile. You knew one thing for sure when you were in Matthews Pharmacy you weren't just a customer, you were family," Mattracion said.

A funeral service is scheduled for noon on Friday at St. John's Memorial Episcopal Church in Ellenville. Burial will follow at Fantinekill Cemetery.

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