Friends of Matt remember his dogs, his cooking, his pictures of planes, moose and of course eagles, his help with many construction projects, and his brutal and caustic honesty, and his grumpiness.
Matt died in South Peninsula hospital after almost 2 years in the hospital’s Long Term Care unit. The family would like to thank the LTC staff members for their patience, good cheer and support during his long stay. We would also like to thank Dr. Bell, Matt’s long term physician who navigated 40 years of care for Crone’s disease, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and then more recently renal failure and fluid accumulation. Matt joked with his doctor that he had had more than 9 lives, and was on his second, or third cat. He had a good run.
Matt grew up in Malvern, NY, and attended Corona Ave Grade School and Valley Stream Junior and Senior High School, graduating from High School in 1970. He played football in high school, and was an Eagle Scout, attending two Philmont Boy Scout camp summers 1966 and 1967. He got his first taste of Alaska with a Friends Youth Travel Group, in 1968, and also traveled to East Africa in 1969.
He attended Syracuse University with an interest in forestry before ultimately receiving a degree in construction management from Utica College of Syracuse and moving to Alaska.
In summer 1975 Matt helped drive Aunt Karla Freeman and his cousins Tara, Asia, and Molly from California to Alaska. He found his tribe and stayed in Homer, working on their home, and helping to
home school Tara, David Mogar and Noah Robbin before traveling out with the snow in October.
In the early 1980s his mom Lois Schneyer bought a partially finished shell of a home at 11 Mile East End Road. It was left to Matt to singlehandedly install windows, plumbing and wiring and finish that house before his parents could move into that house in 1982. After a short period of being construction manager for an electrical contracting company with his dad, Matt settled into a long period on being an important part of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department.
Matt had many dogs, with the most memorable a series of 5 Swiss Mountain Dogs, whom he adored. He could sometimes be seen with a dog cart on the beach gathering coal or transporting clamming gear or photography equipment.
He spent at least 8 summers working the airfield in Kenai for fire control workers. He was the chief cook, and this may have been the happiest time of his life, cooking meals for firefighters and lounging around with his dogs.
As a retired Firefighter, he kept the family home open for visits from sister Jess, brother Joel, and their families, including his 5 nieces. He moved to long term care in the fall of 2021.
A zoom memorial is planned for summer 2024. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Matt’s name to the nonprofit Homer Animal Friends for their work supporting the shelter and rescue of pets in Homer