Arnold Matt, age 86, passed away peacefully at his home in New Underwood with family at his side on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. He lived, loved and laughed well.
Arnold Arthur Matt was born September 22, 1925, in a farm house to Joseph and Selma Martinson Matt in the Elk Vale community north of Rapid City. In 1928, he moved with his parents and siblings, Gladys and Julius to his mother’s homestead in the Boneita Springs area close to the Belle Fourche River. His brother, Henry, was born in 1933.
Arnold received his elementary education at four different schools where he had to board with other families that lived closer to the schools. His boyhood was spent helping with chores, swimming in the river, hunting and trapping as well as inventing things to make work and fun easier.
When Arnold was 17, he bought land from Ole Olson and dug a well on it by hand. He worked on ranches and farms. Soon after he leased the Ole Olson home place and moved in there.
In 1948, on February 14, Arnold married Elsie Boydston Arneson at the home of her sister and brother-in-law, Ardis and Justin Speer. They made their home on the Olson place until 1949, when they moved a house onto their land on a basement that Arnold dug with the help of others. Additional buildings were added for poultry, hogs, sheep, cattle, etc.
Arnold worked not only on farms and ranches, but also on the missile sites. His life revolved around the Boneita Springs community where he was president of the school board in District #7 for 11 years. He helped with the upkeep of the Boneita Springs School and the Boneita Springs Church and Cemetery. Arnold received an appreciation trophy for his work in the community. He attended his children’s activities at school and 4-H. He irrigated land that he leveled himself on the river bottom. Arnold farmed and ranched as well, with the help of his family. He helped his neighbors with branding, carpentry, harvesting or whatever they needed help with, including witching for water with a just right willow branch.
Arnold chauffeured his children many times after they went to New Underwood to high school. He was a great and creative do-it-yourselfer. He loved finding all the things to collect for his museum.
After his breathing limited his outdoor work, he leased the ranch to sons, Stanley and Kenny Matt, and started doing woodworking. He and Elsie sold his creations at craft shows and out of their home.
In 2000, they began spending winters in their present home in New Underwood. In 2004, they moved in permanently and have enjoyed visiting and having friends and families stop in. As his health deteriorated, he became housebound, but still enjoyed company.
Arnold was tall in stature and large in the hands, his laugh was loud and infectious, and would make people laugh who may not have even heard the joke! He was always quick to joke and tease.
Preceding him in death were his parents; his sister, Gladys, and her husband, Charles Brassfield; his brother, Julius; a daughter-in-law, Vicki Matt; a son-in-law, Wayne Bloom; two grandsons, Justin Matt and Trent Matt; a great-granddaughter, Maci Oyler; two nephews, Dennis Matt and Allen Matt; a niece, Diana Matt-Gehrels; and in-laws, Cecil and Alice Boydston, Ardis Speer and Ruth Boydston.
He leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Elsie, and nine children, Marion (Darlene) Matt, Cliff (Judy) Matt, Dixie (Dave) Oyler, Ron (Tonya) Matt, Stanley (Glenda) Matt, Kenny (Cindy) Matt, Marlene (Paul) Montoya, Beverly (Wade) Wootton, Bonnie (Steve) Yearous, 24 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren. He also leaves his brother, Henry (Annette) Matt, in-laws, Charles (Margaret) Boydston, Justin Speer and Alys Matt.
Services were held Saturday, July 7, at the Central Meade County Community Center at Union Center with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating.
Burial was in the Boneita Springs Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the Central Meade County Community Center for air conditioning.
Friends may sign Arnold’s online guestbook at www.kirkfuneralhome.com.