Matthew Kenneth Burks was aptly born, his parents’ first beloved child, in the middle of the summer of 1980. Like this season, he was exceptionally bright, filled others with warmth and was a reminder that light always shines again even after dark moments.
The love and dreams of a man from Texas and a woman from Boston created his life and he was cherished from before he was even earthside. In nineteen years he lived the life of five people. Ordering twin lobsters at lunch with his adored grandparents at age seven, flying over 50 times on American Airlines with his parents before the age of two or assuming the role of a much older person and gleefully telling his two younger sisters what to do.
It is easy to describe Matt in a paragraph of accomplishments. An avid sailor from an early age and eventual sailing instructor, his summer blond-streaked hair and tie-dyed shirt making it easy to spot him amongst the waves of the Boston Harbor. An ice hockey player, a math whiz, an oboist, a brilliant mind, a computer genius and a teenage software engineer.
The one thing that cannot ever be adequately captured is the effortless yet genuine ability to captivate that Matt exuded and the intensity with which he lived. He was a fast-driving, jam-band loving, Dunkin’ carrying “chahmah” that made everyone he spoke with feel like they mattered. From the parking attendant at Walden Pond that knew him by name despite minute long interactions to the server at his favorite sushi place to his boss at Oracle, interacting with Matthew meant something, and made you feel like you meant something.
His spirit lives on in all the people touched by that charm, by his namesake Bowen Matthew, by the memories of him strumming his guitar to a friend’s young child, indelible images of making his mom fall over with laughter as he stole cookie dough at nineteen the same way he did at age nine, and the love for him carried in the hearts of many; now and for generations to come.
Honored by his sister Kristina Burks Halliday, aka proudly “Little Burks”