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Reservoir yields body of missing Ceres man
• Recovery made two days after victim's family holds memorial service
The body of Richard “Rick” Matlock, 58, of Ceres, surfaced in New Melones Reservoir on Monday, 16 days after he drowned. - photo by Contributed

The body of a Ceres man who disappeared into the waters of New Melones Reservoir after a swim on Aug. 18 has been recovered. The discovery of the body of Richard “Rick” Matlock, 58, came two days after his family held a memorial service for him in Hughson.

Divers from several Sheriff’s departments repeatedly looked for the body but were unable to do so and called off the search. On Monday morning an angler reported that waves had pushed his body up against the shore near the dam.

The memorial service took place Saturday at The Healing Place Church, 7781 Fox Road, Hughson. Pastor Kenny Little officiated the event, which was attended by about 450 persons.

Rick was born Dec. 12, 1959 in Temple, Texas to Ann Hester and Grant Matlock. He graduated from Hughson High School in 1978. He married his high school sweetheart, Gina Thompson, in 1979. They were married for 38 years. 

Rick had previously worked as a machinist at Dizney & Wise machine shop for 20 years.

Rick was a tow operator and Modesto yard manager for E-Towing for the past 20 years. He was well acquainted with the California Highway Patrol through his job. In his honor, the local CHP office posted on its Facebook page this tribute to Matlock: “He was not only one of the best tow operators in the area, but an unbelievable person inside and out. On numerous occasions, Rick provided services to the motoring public without compensations.

“Rick never took the importance of his job lightly, as he always knew how a simple call for service was a life-altering experience for many. Rick responded to hundreds of CHP calls over his lifetime. Rick did everything possible to restore normalcy back to people’s lives. The CHP would like to extend our thoughts and prayers for Rick’s family and everyone who was blessed to know him.”

He leaves behind his wife, Gina Matlock of Ceres; his children, April Matlock, Tammy Petty, Amber Matlock, and Richard Matlock, all of Ceres; his mother, Ann Matlock of Keller, Texas; three sisters, Anita Saad of Watauga,Texas, Kathy Salmon of Modesto and Carol Whitson of Stevenson, his brother, Mike Matlock of Keyes; 11 granddaughters, Taylor Brewer, Bryanne Petty, Alyssa Petty, Caitlyn Petty, Emma Petty, Elly Petty,  Keira Matlock, Gracie Mendes, Addyson Mendes,  Alexie Matlock, Riley Matlock; four grandsons, Gage Petty, Rhett Petty, Nickolas Mendes and Caige Mendes. He was preceded in death by daughter Crystal Elaine Matlock, father Grant Matlock, brother Butch Matlock, and nieces Sarah Saad and Sarena Vilandre.

A page has been set up to help the family with burial expenses. As of Tuesday donors had chipped in $8,555 toward the $10,000 goal. It can be seen at Amy Thompson Beasley, Matlcock’s sister-in-law, posted the following: “The Matlock family has suffered the greatest loss of their lives. The center of their world was taken from them, way too soon. We are all devastated, in disbelief, and want to wake up from this horrible dream. At this time we are asking for you to cover them in prayer daily, and if you are able, donate towards costly funeral expenses. Any amount is greatly appreciated. If you knew Rick, you know that he was always there to help someone in need. We would love, to now, return that favor and bless his family in the time of this tragedy.”