Death of longtime Craig resident touches many
And indeed we did. You know him, Matt was the little artist fellow, the one who did cartoons for the newspaper, “Oh yes, I know him.”
Everyone knew him.
Kids at the preschool knew him, where Matt went every week to teach drawing. Seniors at Rainbow Living Center, retired people at Valley View, where he taught pastels all knew him. Friends at the church, where he would nod off each Sunday knew him. People at Sunset Meadows, where he lived for the past 10 years knew him.
He talked to everyone.
“I know you,” he would say when someone came up to say “Hi.”
“Thank you,” he said, when one of his friends, a little girl who just turned 10, sent a piece of her birthday cake to his table at the restaurant where he was eating.
He would make sure he was in the Great Room at Sunset Meadows after dinner to visit. He did not just sit at home and watch football, even though that was a priority and he didn’t miss many games.
Matt circulated. Each Monday morning he would deliver cartoons to the newspaper. He played bingo at Valley View Manor. He painted pictures with fellow artists. He taught cartooning at CNCC. He struggled to learn how to run the computer paint program. It was hard to believe he was 85.
It was harder to believe that he met all his friends in Craig just since his retirement.
He came from Arizona with his wife Viola to live close to his niece, Beverly Zulian. Not the regular relaxed retirement of most of us, but a vital, exciting, rewarding time of new experience for the man who had once worked at Mt. Harris as a miner.
Matt remembered the Bear River, where he swam and fished, the mine where he worked, the people he left with to join the army. He started cartooning for fellow enlisted men when they wanted cards to send home from England and France. He marched through cheering crowds in small towns as the forces regained ground in Europe. He returned to the US to meet Vi, marry and work in southern Arizona.
Christianity was a theme in his art, and in his life.
“My wife got me into the church just in time, too,” he would say with a twinkle.
Unfailingly polite, always cheerful, Matt’s enthusiasm would spill over to all the people around him.
Yes, we have lost a good friend today. We will miss him.