Matthew Franklin YARBER

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YARBER, Matthew Franklin departed this world on Sept. 24, 2012, at the young age of 37. A New Port Richey native, Matthew graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1994. At Ridgewood, he was a member of the Varsity football team and wrestling team and was also his senior class prom king. After high school graduation, Matthew served in Americorp for two years until Feb. 1996. He was one of President George Bush's Thousand Points of Light during that administrative term. He moved back home to New Port Richey and began attending Pasco Hernando Community College where he graduated from in 1998 with his A.A. degree. While he was attending PHCC, Matthew was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the Brain Bowl team, National Honors Society, and the Veterans Club. He was the president of the student government and a student ambassador for the college. Of all the positions and organizations that Matthew held, one of his favorites was being hand-selected and appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the state's board of community colleges. It is a 13-member board with only one spot being held for a student. On Oct. 28, 1997, Matthew was that student. After his term ended and he graduated from PHCC, he attended St. Leo University where he received two Bachelor's degrees with the goal of one day working in politics, continuing his education and eventually working at a university as a professor in history. History was Matthew's passion. He became a teacher for the Pasco County School Board and started in the Social Studies department working with special education. He taught at Gulf High School and River Ridge High School where he quickly became a favorite of students and his co-workers. Matthew attended, along with his family, Generations Christian Church in Trinity. He recently felt led to work with the youth and began volunteering there on Sunday mornings. Although Matthew's accomplishments, projects, and awards were impressive and amazing, he is probably best known for how he made each individual he met feel special and important. He was a gregarious extrovert who left an impression upon each person he met. It is not an exaggeration to say that if you mentioned Matthew Yarber's name anywhere, regardless of the depth of the relationship one had with him, if they knew him or knew of him, you immediately got a smile from them. He had a wonderful gift of being able to make you laugh, despite the kind of day you were having. All who knew him would say that when Yarber loves, he loves all the way. He was a loyal friend and would do anything for his friends. He had a servant's heart and was always concerned about the welfare of others. To have known Matthew Yarber, you were one of the luckiest people that lived because you had a friend for life in him. Matthew is survived by his wife Shari Yarber; their four children, daughter Eirelyn McEnery; son Logan McEnery; daughter Liaiden McEnery; and son Deacon Yarber; along with Matthew's parents, Steve and Patricia Yarber; and sister, Jennifer Wood. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 am at Generations Christian Church, Trinity. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Matthew Yarber Youth Missions Fund, Generations Christian Church.

Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Oct. 2, 2012