Matthew Steele – A Man Who Made A Difference

March 5, 2017 — Leave a comment

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”   St. Therese of Lisieux

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In the days following Matthew’s death, there was barely a moment when I wasn’t thinking about him. It will soon be five months and not much has changed actually – I’m still shocked. One would assume that the waves of such a bombshell would dissipate but they haven’t.

But I have a theory. Yes, he was my little brother and I mourn him. But if he had been a bad man, would the grief be the same? No, probably not. (I doubt Jeffrey’s Dahmer’s mum was inconsolable and boozy for months and months after hearing her little boy was beaten to death in prison – but what do I know). The fact that the pain of Matt’s loss for me and others is so overwhelming is the result of him having been a good man, a very good one at that – a testament to his magnificent heart.

Did he hold some honorific position which by its nature would command attention? Not at all. Had he achieved something singularly unique which made him remarkable – where admirers would simply migrate to him to bask in his fame? It would have been nice, but no. Was his wealth a magnet? He’d laugh at that, his relationship with money was adversarial – he didn’t have any. So, from a worldly perspective, not so special. However …

A man’s greatest treasure is his soul grafted to God. And with that comes the grace of humility, character and a giving nature (love). One would hope then that he is measured by who he is and not what he has. If these are the standards as I see it, then my brother – and I’m clearly biased – was blessed.

I’d like to share the following comments about my brother from people who knew him and were affected by his death. I could have included so many more, but these selected sentiments have been very comforting. They present a theme, a narrative of a good soul who impacted his world.

“I am devastated. Matt was one of the most generous men I know, with his smile, his kind and complementary words, and his genuine concern for how you were doing. He was also one of the most fit men I knew. So very unfair.” Mark

“Matt’s Christ loving attitude towards others will never be forgotten. I will miss Matt.” Sean

“One of my most beloved friends died yesterday afternoon of a heart attack while mountain biking in Ojai. I can’t stop weeping, my head is still spinning. I loved Matt Steele deeply. Matt was incredibly deep and spiritual, but he didn’t buy into things without thinking, questioning and I always loved that. Whether playing golf, Monday night football, touring Israel with me, or just the regular rambles on the phone I never wasn’t smiling around him. I never heard him speak ill of anyone. Last time I saw him face to face a couple of Sundays ago I grabbed him, hugged him, kissed him on the cheek and told him how much I loved him.” Paul

“Some Souls are so beautiful it hurts, they have to spread their wings & become Angels, the messengers of spiritual love to another level!! My deepest sympathy to all who were part of his life!! God Bless!!” Sheila

“Although I hadn’t seen Matt for quite a few years, he occupies a warm spot in my heart and I have many fond memories of growing up and attending school together in Ventura. I’ve always appreciated Matt’s warmth, profound decency, and great sense of humor.” Rebecca

“I’m so very sad. I’m in disbelief like everyone else … my heart hurts, I loved that guy.” Krystal

“So hard to lose someone so good to so many who looked to him for love and guidance, and a true friend –  but to lose him so suddenly – just heart wrenching.” Peggy

It broke my heart to hear about Matt. He was such a sweet man.” Kathy

“Knew Matt from the gym. I think it is rather unusual to have a relationship of any type with people who go, workout & go home. Matt was different. A more outgoing, fun, kind and mellow person you rarely meet. If the rest of the world were like Matt, it would be a much better place.” Judi

“We miss Matt more than we thought possible.” Vivian

“Matt was like a polished diamond with so many facets of his life. A friend since 4th grade summer school. All of our friends loved Matt and he touched all of us in so many ways. His humour, his laughter, his love. How many times did he say “lock and load” when making decisions. Judy mentioned him being on the floor with kids. Once upon a time I spied on him sitting INSIDE my daughter’s playpen with her playing! (My initial thought was ‘it’s going to collapse’!!) She’s 32 now. Just last week in a phone call with him I teased ” ‘Matt Steele’… you know that’s kind of a super hero name”.. he laughed and said the guy at the [DMV] had told him the same thing.” Tracey

“Matthew meant too much to me, he was like the brother I never had. Matthew taught me and trained me to mountain bike and not to be afraid of riding a bike.” Jairo

“I meet Matt at the gym. Matt rode in the front row of my Spinning class and put everything he had into every workout. Others around him fed off of his energy and tried to avoid his flying sweat! I loved his enthusiasm and his love for life – and his generosity and HUGE HEART. As a cyclist myself, I know he died doing what he loved – we should all be so lucky.” Janeene

“I was blessed to have run into Matt a couple of times during the last year or so, after not seeing him for a long time. One of the good ones has left far too soon. RIP my friend.” Bob

“I was surprised and saddened by the announcement of Matt’s death. Matt was a student of mine at Balboa Junior High School in 1970-71. He was a very good student and one of the nicest guys I have ever met. I often thought, “How can you go wrong with a name like Matt Steele.” He was a joy to have in class and I often thought that the classroom atmosphere was diminished when he was absent.” George

“We loved Matt. Never forget his great smile and happy personality.” Maria

“What a beautiful guy who had it all!” Lori

“Matt always had a smile for us.” Marcy

“We can only hope to be a person, like Matt, so loved and honored.” Sharon

“I have memories of Matt being such a sweet boy, that I know he must have become an outstanding man.” Donna

“His wonderful smile will be missed by all. l am so sorry for all of us.” Bonnie

“This is so sad. He really was a great, fun-loving guy.” Nancy

“What a great man. Prayers for family. He has kind eyes.” Liz

“This is terrible. I knew him through Judy and our Ojai Valley Church family. He was a wonderful human being.” Sandi

“He was a blessing to all – so hard to lose such a wonderful soul.” Peggy

“Matt was a wonderful guy and was loved by everyone. He touched so many lives with his giant smile. He will forever be remembered and I am grateful to have known him.” Shirley

“Matt was larger than life! I am so glad to have known him.” Anna

“It’s hard to believe that such an inspiring young man is no longer with us. I will forever remember our times together and the ever smiling Matt.” Robin

“To everyone above, thank you! The little pug-nosed Matt on the left wasn’t quite sure about the situation he found himself in. Stare at what? One of my favorite pictures of the Steele bros.” Marcus