Matthew John Patrick: Best to be Seen

Born September 12, check here 1990 at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, pharm Texas, Matthew passed away September 28, 2012 at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  A funeral with full honors was held at the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel in Colorado Springs on Thursday, October 4th, 2012; his final resting place will be at the Academy Cemetery.

Matthew was a Cadet 1st Class at the United States Air Force Academy.  Majoring in aeronautical engineering he would have graduated in May 2013.  He had been assigned by the Air Force as an aeronautical developmental engineer after graduation.  Matthew was a member of the Shadow 7 squadron his first year, and was in Barnstormers 23 squadron the last 3 years.  While at the Academy, he led his squadron from 28th to 1st place in drill and ceremonies, was the honor NCO as a junior, and would have been the honor CO next spring as a senior.  He spent many hours helping his squad mates with math and science homework, both as a squad tutor and afterwards.

As parents, we knew early on that he was smart—in 1st grade instead of just saying “I like dinosaurs” he announced he was going to be a paleontologist. And he could spell it correctly.  He attended Kramer Elementary, Franklin Middle School, and the Science & Engineering Magnet in Dallas, where he graduated 11th in his class in 2009.  From 1998 to 2002 Matthew lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and attended SY Jackson Elementary.  Matthew excelled at math and science competitions, winning numerous awards both individually and with his teammates; was a NASA High School Aerospace Scholar; a 2008 National Merit Finalist; Member of the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society; and a 2009 National AP Distinguished Scholar.  A member of his high school and church choirs, Matthew loved music—he played trumpet in middle school and took piano lessons prior to that. His high school choir presented him with the Foghorn Award for best low voice.

In 8th grade he fell in love with flying and made up his mind to obtain an appointment to USAFA.  He joined the Civil Air Patrol, where he rose to the rank of Cadet Lt. after earning his Mitchell Award in 2008. While at a CAP summer camp in 2007 he learned to fly, and soloed for the first time.

Matthew was a devoted fan of Texas Longhorns football and went to Dallas Mavericks games before he could walk. He became a fan of pro cycling during high school, and would often get up before dawn (or stay up—his parents were never sure which) to watch live broadcasts of events in Europe.  He was one of the leaders of the war gaming club at USAFA, focusing on strategic & board games that recreated historical events.  Matthew was a voracious reader and enjoyed history and philosophy.  Although not a language major, he studied German, Latin and Russian in high school and college.

He was baptized at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Dallas in 1991 and confirmed at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in 2006.  He was active in the church youth house, sang in the youth band, went on mission trips to New Mexico, South Dakota, Kentucky, and New Orleans, retreats at Mo Ranch in South Texas and Montreat in North Carolina; and amazed one and all with his performance as Rooster in the youth stage presentation of “Annie” his junior year.  He loved to try new things, be it eating new foods or the annual family summer vacation to places like San Francisco, Washington DC, the Grand Canyon, Boston, New England, Maine, or his favorite place, Yellowstone.  He especially loved the mountains, trees and rivers, and his dad loved their fly fishing trips together.

Matthew has been variously described by friends, teachers, and parents of friends as someone who was quiet, professional, unassuming, loyal to a fault, and creative with a keen mind and a quick, dry wit. He had a quirky sense of humor with an appreciation for irony and the absurd.  He never wanted to draw attention to himself, preferring to let others take the lead while he worked behind the scenes to make things run smoothly.  Here are a few comments from friends:

My greatest memory of him was when he did the physics homework due that day on the bus like it was as simple as 1+1=2 to him. I always admired his genius.

Matthew would show up to anything his friends were doing. He was always there to support them.

Matthew always gave the best hugs.

I’m never going to forget the occasional, “damn, whatever foo” that Matthew would interject in the midst of a group discussion. I have been called both “dog” and “foo” by Matthew before and every time he did it at the house I would look over at the cabinet full of math and science trophies and ponder the paradox of Matthew Patrick.  It was always hard to find that common ground with Matthew, I mean conversationally. I think he and I both knew that if we talked about the things he was really interested in, it would be over my head.

I don’t think I can count the number of times he made me laugh so hard I had tears rolling down my face.

Matt was one of the best people I ever had the privilege to know, and he will be sorely missed. However, his spirit lives on and continues to inspire me every single day to live a better and happier life while making other people smile. If Matt were here, I think he’d challenge us all to be strong and continue to push forward.

I remember during basic in Jacks Valley when we all were finding out what classes we placed into, he placed into Calculus III. No one does that.

Last year Matt and I got pretty close. We sat at the same table every day at lunch and loved playing movie trivia with the freshmen. The funniest part about eating lunch with him was that whenever there was bacon you had to make sure Matt got it last because he’d take the rest of the pan.

And one of his favorite sayings:  Calm down people, calm down.

He is survived by his parents, Matthew G. and Beverly Robertson Patrick, and his sister Catherine Ann Patrick; Grandparents Jack and Cathy Robertson; aunts and uncles Mark and Peggy Patrick, Kimberly (Patrick) and Eduardo Boetsch, Boyd and Kat Patrick, Michal Robertson, John and Anqi Robertson, Russell Robertson, David and Ronda Robertson, Joe and Amy Robertson, and Lydia Robertson; great-aunts and –uncles Ruth Brumley, Don and Barbara Henson, John and Cheryl Cox, and Jayne and Harold Stewart; and numerous cousins.

One Comment

  1. I can’t believe Matthew is gone. I never knew him in person but he was one of a group of internet friends I kept in touch with frequently and I was just looking for him online when I heard the news. It’s so sad that a young man with so much potential is lost to us.