Matt now has a lot more people to play games with.
Matthew Anthony Roth, who played pretty much any game you challenged him with, passed away recently after a short lifetime filled with daily workouts and many sporting activities, pizzas, get-togethers and ... games. The level of difficulty progressed, from Chutes and Ladders and Nerf basketball, to hearts, hockey, foosball, bowling, golf, soccer, cribbage and his all time favorite - poker.
Matt was born Dec. 8, 1986, to Bill and Beth Roth in Fairbanks. Although he spent some of his younger years living in the Alaska villages of Tuluksak and St. Mary's, Fairbanks is where he called home.
University Park Elementary was school for K-6; he was in the first class at Randy Smith Middle School and he graduated from West Valley High with honors. Matt was known in his youth for his natural spelling and math abilities, his determination and efforts in training for hockey and soccer, and his desire to argue many a point.
Reffing was a job that started at an early age. Beginning in fifth grade, he reffed both house soccer and hockey games, progressing to the competitive level. The highlight of this career was head-reffing a regional game between West Valley and Lathrop high school teams. He was known for his thick skin, listening, fairness and strong understanding of the game.
Matt ventured on to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, unsure of what to major in. After two years of undergraduate classes, he transferred to University of Nevada, Reno. It was there he decided to work towards a degree in business, with a minor in finance. He never forgot his roots as a Nanook, frequently showing up for the Governor's Cup.
Graduation from Reno occurred in spring 2012. His grandpa and he drove a rickety motor home back on the Alaska Highway, which Matt found to be an incredibly enjoyable experience.
Traveling fairly extensively was something he treasured and was fortunate enough to do. Hawaii was a frequent family destination during several Decembers. To San Francisco he traveled to watch a favorite player, Barry Bonds. In 2011, he went to the Outdoor Classic hockey game to watch his favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, play the Washington Capitals. Traveling to Minnesota, he was able to watch Brett Favre play in his first game against Green Bay. There was also a New Year's at Times Square, a spring break in Cancun, a vacation in the Bahamas and several trips to Canada. He spent a couple of months backpacking through Europe, enjoying the sights of Germany, Monaco, France and Spain to name a few. A highlight of this trip was watching a professional soccer game at Barcelona, which he found powerful.
In a very short life, Matt Roth lived fully. His parents, his sister, Sarah and husband Nick Clark, his sister, Lynn and boyfriend Ian Campbell, his grandparents, Mardee and Bob Roth, and Leon Berning, along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, find solace in the good times that they were able to share with him.
Matt Roth, we look forward to the day we will be reunited with you, to enjoy your infamous smile, to hear you say, "Me hungee" before eating pizza, to listen to "Sandstorm," to watch "Happy Gilmore" one more time, and to play our favorite game ... even though you will probably win again.
The family is asking that people "pay it forward" with random acts of kindness in lieu of monetary gifts. There will be a celebration of life at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2013, at Friends Community Church.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.