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555 W Glendale Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85021
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Mathew E. Shannon

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Mathew E. Shannon Obituary
Mathew E. Shannon

Phoenix - Mathew E. Shannon passed away on April 26, 2018 at age 85. A native Phoenician, Mathew was born at Good Samaritan Hospital to John and Mary Shannon. Mathew was the youngest of four brothers who were raised on a citrus farm in depression-era Laveen. His love of the Arizona wilderness was born during long hikes in South Mountain Park and family summer trips to Oak Creek Canyon. Mathew attended Roosevelt Grade School and Phoenix Union High School, where he graduated in 1950. Mathew was a member of the track team during two years at Phoenix College, then moved south to the University of Arizona, where (incredibly) he was a member of the swim team during his first two years of law school. After graduating with his juris doctorate in 1956, Mathew completed his obligation to the U.S. Army. With a well-developed love of adventure, he eagerly requested postings to some of the far corners of the world, but the vagaries of military life consigned him to the less than exotic Fort Carson, CO.

Mathew returned to Phoenix to begin his law practice, first as a criminal attorney and then settling into a 50-year career as a commercial attorney in practice as a partner in the firm Filler, Paytas, Shannon, Fleming and Stephenson. He met the love of his life, Karen Kenworthy during a blind date at a Baptist dance. Karen and Mathew were married in 1961 and remained deeply in love for the remainder of their time together. A devoted father, Mathew was consistently interested in his childrens' activities and eagerly had time to throw a ball, read a book, play chess, or just listen. He was always excited for hikes up the peaks of the Arizona and the southwest, even if the children were less so. Ever the Devil's Advocate, he demanded that his children respect the complexity of the world. Later in life he gave the same love and attention to his grandchildren.

Mathew's love of a challenge and adventure was fully realized in retirement, when he declared that he would hike the Arizona Trail. Mat found his tribe in the Arizona Trail Association, where he met many sturdy and affable hikers. With his new friends he completed all the segments of the 800-mile trail, culminating with a party at Phantom Ranch. He was 72 and was believed at that time to be the oldest hiker to complete the trail. Always meticulous, Mathew joined each segment "footstep to footstep."

This space does not allow for an adequate appreciation of the other important qualities of this man: his sense of humor, his intelligence, and his green thumb to name a few. One judge described him as "a shark" in in the courtroom, which surprised those that only knew him for his generosity and kindness as a friend, neighbor and relation. He was a life-long member of the Look-It-Up Club, motto: "When I don't know something, I don't guess. I look it up!"

In his final years Mathew endured the insult of Alzheimer's Disease with the grace and tenacity you would expect from a such a gentleman. The family wishes to thank the staff at Huger Mercy Living Center for their care and compassion.

Mathew is survived by his wife of 56 years, Karen; and brother Stan (Nickie), his sons Paul (Sheryl) and John (Sarah) and daughter Amy, as well as 6 grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at the Church of the Beatitudes, 555 W. Glendale Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona on May 19 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the Arizona Trail Association in Mathew's honor. You can donate securely online (https://aztrail.org/get-involved/donate/) or mail a check to P.O. Box 36736, Phoenix, AZ 85067.
Published in The Arizona Republic from May 9 to May 13, 2018
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