Billie Jean Matthews 1945 - 2021

Billie Jean (B.J.) Matthews passed away peacefully in her Yamhill home March 25, 2021, at the age of 76. She was born February 14, 1945, the middle child of Lola and Roy Matthews. Being in a Navy family, she lived in many places during her childhood, including four years in Cuba as a middle schooler. Her father’s last posting was in Astoria, which is what brought them to Oregon. They moved to McMinnville in 1961.

After graduating from McMinnville High School in 1962, B.J. attended Linfield College, where she completed a double major in Chemistry and Math, graduating with honors. She was awarded a National Science Grant for graduate studies at Penn State. There she achieved a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1971.

B.J. was a trailblazer as a woman physical chemist, first at DuPont and then at Kimberly-Clark. She was a scientist and a problem solver.

In 2003, she took early retirement and moved back to McMinnville to help her sister take care of their parents. She discovered the joys of farm work. On August 30, 2015, she married Gordon Dromgoole of Yamhill.

B.J. was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Margie Holland. She is survived by her husband, Gordon Dromgoole; brother, David Matthews; son, Mike Matthews; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. April 3, at First Baptist Church of McMinnville. To leave condolences, visit


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