“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat” – Theodore Roosevelt
Matthew Randy Nyman (43), of Denver, CO, died February 3, 2021, as he lived – bravely ascending new heights – following an avalanche near Anchorage, Alaska.
The beloved son of Randy (Pam) Nyman and Rebecca (Chuck) Hickman; husband of Kristina Crichton; father of Aiden Nyman-Laughman, 15, and Maddox Nyman-Laughman, 9; brother of Heidi Broussard; and stepfather of Wesley Crichton Polka, 10; Matt was an adored husband, loving father, dear brother, caring friend to many, and inspiration to all who met him.
Born January 3, 1978, in Waterloo, IA, Matt entered the military upon graduation from Waterloo West High School in 1996. He proudly served in the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, completed Infantry training, Airborne school, and the Ranger indoctrination program before being selected in 2002 to serve in the elite 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment.
As a Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Forces, Matt was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2005. While in Iraq, he sustained life-threatening injuries in a helicopter crash that required leg amputation and years of extensive rehabilitation. Those challenges, however, did not deter Matt, who persisted to regain his physical and cognitive abilities and became a skilled mountaineer. In the last 10 years, Matt scaled the world’s largest peaks – Denali, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Gran Paradiso and Lobouche. He was featured in the 2012 documentary “High Ground,” following a team of 11 wounded warriors, as they conquered a Himalayan mountain. Matt continued his military service following his injury, first as a Senior Operations Ofﬁcer for the Joint Special Operations Command and later with the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). While serving with USNORTHCOM, he integrated U.S. assets within Mexican governmental agencies to identify, track, and dissolve criminal networks and coordinated USNORTHCOM’s multi-national government exercise to reduce nuclear weapon proliferation and prevent large-scale terrorist attacks.
In 2015, Matt entered the Executive MBA program at Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, quickly becoming a sought-after strategic transformation leader across military, government, and corporate America. After graduating in 2017, he became the Director of Security Monitoring and Response at Mastercard. Under his leadership, Mastercard’s global team of cyber-security experts thwarted threats from attackers around the world. At the time of death, Matt was the Cyber Security Fusion Center Director with American Family Insurance. He helped lead the strategic transformation of how they managed the central security network across the organization.
As a Board Member for the Endangered Species Protection Agency, Matt’s tactical expertise and military experience supported disruption of transnational criminal organizations and helped to reduce poaching of critically endangered animals across Africa. He also was a part of many other charity organizations, including the Adaptive Grand Slam of global wounded warriors. Matt was on track to climb the tallest peak on each continent to inspire other veterans to overcome their own challenges.
Matt met his wife Kris, at Washington University and together they integrated their families – including Aiden, Maddox and Wesley – and supported each other’s personal and professional pursuits. Their once-in-a-lifetime love was punctuated by global travels that fueled Matt’s natural curiosity and adventurous spirit.
One of Matt’s biggest sources of joy was the birth and life of his two sons, Aiden and Maddox. They spent many hours enjoying the adventures of the outdoors, which included camping under the stars, skiing, and dune bugging across the Continental Divide. After Matt and Kristina blended their families together, they continued all of these adventures plus many more, including hours of Nerf gun wars at home.
Matt is preceded in death by his grandparents: Joan Nyman, Alice and Chuck Walter, and James Hickman. His legacy of service, resilience, and compassion lives on with his family, children, and the countless individuals who were honored to serve with him and call him a friend.
Due to Covid-19 the family is holding a private service on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 1:00pm. They will have a live-stream available. Please click on link below.