North Carolinian to head Friends of the Smokies

The Rev. Daniel P. Matthews of Waynesville has been selected as the new board chair of Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the first from North Carolina since the regional organization’s inception in 1993.  

Matthews and his wife, Deener, own and operate the Swag Country Inn on the border of the national park in Haywood County. They also serve on the foundation board of the Haywood Regional Medical Center. Matthews is rector emeritus of New York City’s Trinity Episcopal Church on Wall Street, and currently serves as trustee and co-chair of the development committee for The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.

Matthews’ 17-year tenure with Trinity included serving as an advocate for and commentator on the church’s post-Sept. 11 mission, which included a 24-hour center of refuge and relief for eight months after the attack. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his leadership during that period.

Other changes to the board of Friends of the Smokies include the election of Nancy Daves of Knoxville, Tenn., as a director. Stephen W. Woody of Asheville, founding vice chair, now serves as treasurer. Dale Keasling of Knoxville is vice chair, and Knoxville’s Kay Clayton is the board secretary.

Friends of the Smokies in a nonprofit organization that has raised more than $31 million to support educational programs, historic preservation projects and more.

Visit the organization’s website at

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