Landscapes 07

Matthew Ryan Bern

December 21, 1974 ~ November 15, 2022 (age 47)

Obituary

Matthew Ryan Bern (still known as Matt by his beloved cousins and aunts and uncles) came into the world on December 21, 1974 at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. He was welcomed by his mother and father Diana and Brad Bern and his one and only big sister, Michelle Bern. His family moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1975 where Matthew spent his preschool years. He was an active boy, with his big sister always watching out for him and keeping him entertained. When he was outside he spent most of his time riding his favorite toy, his big wheel. When he was indoors his favorite pastime was building creations with his Legos. 
The family relocated to Britt, Iowa in 1979 where he began his elementary education in 1980. He still enjoyed spending many hours outside, now riding his bike and playing jail break with the neighborhood children and when indoors continuing to develop his expertise in his Lego building. His big sister often got him to play "school" with her where she was the "teacher." It is here where we began to realize that he had a special gift in math. In later years she shared with us that she would bring home extra copies of her math worksheets that were three grades ahead of him and he would complete them in a matter of minutes. On hot summer days Matthew loved being out on the golf course playing 18 holes of golf rather than being in the swimming pool with his big sister. The greenskeeper, an elderly man named Carl, fondly named him little "Jack Nicklaus". In the winter months he enjoyed snowmobiling and spending time at the high school playing basketball. He helped his Dad as a team manager for the Britt High School basketball JV and Varsity teams where his love of basketball was born. 
Matthew was surrounded with a large extended family which included spending time with cousins and large family gatherings on holidays and special occasions. Matthew and his sister always looked forward to visiting both sides of their families and spending time on his aunt and uncle's farm in Iowa. There were many summer days spent golfing with family, water skiing, and fishing in the Iowa Great Lakes area with grandparents and in later years driving his grandfather's antique John Deere tractors on the family farm in Northwest Iowa.
The family moved to Denver, Colorado in 1984 where Matthew became actively involved in youth sports including football, basketball and baseball. He was also involved in church youth group and liked to participate in activities that helped others. He showed a particular kindness to the elderly members in the church. He always looked forward to camps and retreats at the church's camp La Foret in the Black Forest. 
Matthew began his high school education as member of the first co-ed class at Mullen High School. It was here where his social justice leanings were heightened, working regularly at the soup kitchen in Denver. Here he also mastered his expertise in Math, was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated from Mullen in 1993. He enjoyed cycling, snow skiing and continued to play basketball at Mullen. This is when he began to tutor other students in math, which he continued after graduation. He spent several years caddying for the Denver County Club and working in the pro shop. His favorite person to play golf with was his grandma; his mom and dad also enjoyed many wonderful rounds of golf with him.
After high school, he attended college at Regis University and Metro State University with the plan of being a teacher, but never finalized this goal. Matthew always liked children and taught preschool at a Montessori school in Denver. He obtained a CDL and worked in the transportation industry and drove for the Access-A-Ride in Colorado Springs and Denver. Matthew discovered his skills of building and working with wood.  He was a great contributor of his carpentry gifts when he helped his parents build their family home. He later was employed by his father's cabinet and furniture making business where he built custom furniture. His favorite project was working with his father in designing and building a special line of children's furniture that has been donated to libraries and churches in Iowa and the Denver area. 
At the age of 47, Matthew's life was ended tragically when he was struck by a hit and run driver in Commerce City, Colorado on November 15, 2022. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Walter and Elaine Bern; his maternal grandparents, Warner and Julia Walrath; and his cousin Rhonda (Bern) Weisbrod. He is survived by his mother and father, Brad and Diana Bern; sister, Michelle Bern and her life partner Michael Yale; many cousins, aunts and uncles. 
Matthew will be missed by all who loved him, especially his radiant smile, gentle spirit, and amazing big hugs!
Celebration of Life, January 14, 2023, Highlands Church, 1700 S. Grant Street, Denver, CO 80210. Time yet to be determined.
Gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to Dry Bones, 1600 N. Downing Street, Denver, Colorado 80218. Donations may be made at http://drybonesdenver.org


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