Matt was born Feb 26, 1923 in Gleason, WI., the 2nd of 10 children to Karl and Theresa Kegler. Back before television, gas was 14 cents a gallon and you could go to a double feature live show for 25 cents. The 3 light traffic signal was invented that year.
He was a faithful family man and hard worker from early on and believed you should always “keep moving”. He attended Sleepy Hollow, a one room school where he would help start a fire in the wood stove in the mornings and raise and lower the flag each day. His first job was delivering the ‘Grit’ newspaper with his older brother. He picked blueberries with his ‘Pop’ and delivered Christmas trees to Chicago. He worked the woods cutting railroad ties. You might find him helping a nearby farmer pick potatoes or bail hay because, as he said, “that’s what people did in those days - helped one another.”
He married Everilda Singer in Antigo, WI. July of 1946. Together, they built their first home where they lived for 10 years. He purchased a milk route, and for the remainder of their years in Wisconsin would be picking up milk cans from the farmers, delivering them to Kraft or Land O’ Lakes dairies. Apparently there were lots of black and blue fingers, especially when the cans had frozen. In 1957 they moved to Oregon and settled in South Salem where he got a job at Capitol Chevrolet. A year later they moved into their new home in a new neighborhood on the outskirts of town. Shortly after that he started working at Payless Garage and would end up running it for the next three decades until he retired. However, due to his honest reputation and skill people continued to knock on his door for years afterwards begging him to work on their car.
Matt enjoyed having a good time. He loved to eat, and if you asked what his favorite meal was he’d say “it’s all good”. He would hardly ever turn down a cold beer. Pretzels and cheese sticks were his favorite snack. He “ate a lot of ‘em in my day”. He appreciated the butterflies, and loved to feed the birds and “bushy tails” that frequented the backyard. He enjoyed garage sales, loved playing cards, tolerated Yahtzee, and was quite a pool shark. He could care less about a movie, but turn on a Nascar race or a Mariners baseball game and he was in. He was a true advocate of the ‘shoe horn’, but quite adamantly against using a cane. His greatest pleasure came in the out-of-doors. Whether in an RV, on a cruise ship, or a flight to distant shores, he loved traveling and exploring new places with his wife and their relatives or friends. Hunting and fishing or anything that offered the opportunity to spend time with his 2 boys were #1 on his list. Many campfires and crab feeds with his daughter and son-inlaw were enjoyed at the coast over the years. When age started creeping in & traveling became more difficult you could find him out puttering in his garage or just sitting on his stool waving as you drove by.
Matt passed from this life on Sept 29, 2023 with the full moon, leaving behind his wife Ev of 77 years, his daughter Janice(Molly) and husband Steve(Buddy), son Jeff and girlfriend Sherry, grandson Evan and fiance Annie. He was preceded in death by his son Ernie. At the time of his passing, he’d been in the same house for 64 years, far longer than the average person stays in one home, the only original ones left in that ‘new neighborhood’, no longer on the outskirts of town. The average price of fuel grew to $5.00 a gallon. Traffic lights are being replaced with round-a-bouts all over the place. People are ‘streaming’ just about anything on TV and all sorts of devices. And check out the price of a live show in Vegas now!
Many thanks go out to the heroes at Salem Fire Station #7 for their kind support and 911 assistance, to the hospice team at Willamette Vital Health, & to all who’ve supported us with your prayers and blessings during this time. We truly could not have done this without you. In lieu of flowers we suggest a donation to your local Hospice care or to first responders in your area, to Dementia Society of America, or to your local church. LOVE you dad! Use the handrail, that’s what it’s there for, and watch the 2 bad corners!
Graveside services will be held Friday Oct 6th 10AM at Belcrest Memorial Cemetery 1295 Browning Ave. Salem.
Friday Oct 6th, 23023 10AM
Belcrest Memorial Park
1295 Browning Ave. Salem
To be held at a later date
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