Matthew Jay Stephens, age 66, of Dover passed away on Thursday, June 15th surrounded by his family at the Cleveland Clinic.
Matt was born in Dover, Ohio on March 16th, 1957.
He was a graduate of Dover High School in 1975 where he played football and had the 100 yard dash school record of 10 seconds flat. Matt won multiple medals on the youth swim team including the 25 yard backstroke, 50 yard backstroke when he was prep, and the 100 yard backstroke when he was in high school. He was also the Blue Ribbon regional winner in the 200 medley for the YMCA. His younger years were filled with days at the old YMCA where he created life long friends. He loved to reminisce about old coaches and teammates.
Matt then followed in his family's footsteps and went to the electrical apprenticeship and became a member of the IBEW 540 where he worked as an electrician for 45 years.
He was employed by not only his cousin but one of his best friends, Larry (Lisa) Wood for 34 years at Wood Electric. It was more familiar than not to be at a location that "Matt had put those lights up."
Matt retired in 2012 but that didn't last long as he returned to work part time.
Matt was married to his high school crush, Sue Gilmore, on October 22, 1983. They would have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this year.
Together, Matt and Sue had two daughters that were the light of his life; Lindsay and Kelli. He followed whatever they were doing with such pride and excitement. Their family continued to grow as Matt welcomed Son-in-laws Brandon Begue and Tony Argento with open arms. The family is now complete with four grandchildren; Noah, Carter, Lainey ("baby girl") Begue and Ryder ("little buddy") Argento. Matt had such gratification in his life from his family.
Matt's hobbies and passion in life was helping others. He was very active at Dover First Moravian Church where he was not only a member, but on the Board of Trustees, attended Church camp at Tar Hollow and loved to cook for the masses there, as well as helping at the monthly luncheons and any other tasks needed around the Church.
Matt is the Tornado Club President for Dover City Schools and has held that position since 2015. He was a 20+ year member. Something he took great pride in was making Dover schools and athletics the best! He volunteered making Dover facilities the best they could be! From painting steps at the stadium, hanging flags in the new High School parking lot, building locker rooms, hanging lights, no job was too big or small.
Matt was the Communications Director for the Dover High School football team and will be sorely missed on the Friday night sidelines. The family has learned over the years that wasn't his only job as he was down there connecting with many athletes through jokes, hard conversations, taking the boys their favorite candy and so on. He even had something for the ball boys.
It was not unusual to see Matt at the golf course, a volleyball match, baseball fields, the basketball courts, Tornado Relays, and beyond as he enjoyed following all sports and the youth of Dover. He enjoyed watching Muskingum basketball games on his iPad as his grandson, Noah played for 4 years. In 2019 Matt's favorite weekend was watching Carter golf at State in Columbus, Ohio.
Matt's most sent text would be "What's the score?" as he followed all area teams.
Matt is proceeded in death by his mother and step father, Ellen and Les Johnson along with his father and mother in-law, Vern and Nancy Gilmore.
Matt leaves behind a great legacy for others to follow of giving of your time and heart to others. He will be greatly missed by his family and beyond. Matt had so many important friendships in his life and will be greatly missed by all. Matt will forever be a true Dover Tornado!
If you have a story where Matt impacted a life, please sign the tribute book so the family can have that forever. Memories can be shared on the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory website by visiting www.tolandherzig.com
A memorial visitation will take place at the First Moravian Church in Dover on Saturday, July 1, 2023, from 4-7 pm. A celebration of Matt’s life will be held at Crater Stadium on SUNDAY, July 2, 2023, at 7 pm with Pastor John Wallace officiating under the “Friday Night Lights.” Following the service, guests are invited to join the family for refreshments at the stadium. The Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory in Dover are helping with arrangements. In case of inclement weather, please watch for location updates on the funeral home’s website or Facebook page.
With Matt's wishes, donations can be made to the First Moravian Church 319 N. Walnut St., Dover, Ohio 44622, or the Dover Tornado Club, PO Box 81, Dover, Ohio 44622.