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The information in the obituary is correct. Jason was born in 1982 and he went home, unexpectedly a few days ago. The hand out will show you a few pictures and give you an itinerary for his service. All of it is good and necessary. But please, let us tell you about the Jason Matthew we knew.
Jason knew Jesus. He spent years as a child and youth, both learning about and getting to know his Savior. He was always a believer. He knew the one way to that Savior (John 3:16) and was born again at a young age. And about 6 months ago had started the journey back to Jesus. He knew about Our Father’s amazing grace and is living proof of that grace this very day.
Jason loved Yandi. From the beginning, Jason loved Yandi. Having known Jason since day one, I have seen him love and seen him committed. But when Yandi came I saw a love from Jason that I had never seen before and have not seen since. It was all about Yandi. Every decision, every moment, every plan. They wrestled, they played, they shot baskets, they fielded grounders, they drove go carts, they rode Ferris wheels, they bowled, and they jumped on trampolines, rode bicycles and shot off fireworks (sometimes simultaneously). They were inseparable. Jason coached Yandi in basketball and helped in T-ball. If you know Jason, he is aggressive and was working to teach Yandi to be the same in sports. If you know Yandi, he’s a teddy bear. Sweet, loving with a lot of little boy mixed in. So in basketball, in order to try to ‘beef up’ Yandi’s aggressiveness, Jason taught him to growl at the other little 4 year olds when on defense. This was to teach the concept of tough. Yandi, ever working to please his Daddy would do this. On defense, he’d put his arms out to guard and would growl, often startling the other team. But inevitably, Yandi was Yandi. And when it was time to move to the other end of the court, after growling aggressively, he would incongruously skip to the offensive end. Growl. Skip. Growl. Skip. And they were both happy with that arrangement. Sweetness and aggressiveness all wrapped up in one little Yandi. You could also find Yandi skipping to first base during T-ball with happiness being an inherent quality in his little life. Mutual deep, deep love between the two of them was always present.
Jason knew basketball. Starting from a young age he loved the game and the people who were in it, which resulted in lifelong friendships. He played in Biddy Basketball for the Jayhawks, in Junior High for the Truesdell Trojans (if you’re a coach please skip ahead to the next paragraph) and this is where we finally convinced him not to pass, but to always shoot the ball, much to the disgust of the other parents. From there he went on to become a South High Titan (a school he would love until the end) and then on to D2 ball at both Pratt and Parsons. He loved the game. If you knew him you knew of his love for KU and the Jayhawks. His dream came true when his friend Scott set him up with season tickets. It was Jason’s version of Disney World.
Jason was always a strong presence. When he came into the room, you knew it. That’s not meant to be written as arrogant or bragging. It just was. He might bring laughter, or fun or politics or even tension. But if he was in the room, you were aware. Even at The Phog his presence filled our area. He was at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks were on the floor. Jason was LOUD. He jumped up and down (sometimes alone). He yelled and then he yelled and then he yelled some more (sometimes alone). He booed the refs (never alone). He screamed insults (usually alone). So at one point Marcus Garrett shoots a 3 pointer. This was a few years ago back when his 3 point percentage was dismal. He shouldn’t be shooting them. Jason wasn’t happy and moaned and said something like ‘No – don’t do it…’ Something along those lines. A KU fan (and non-Jason Patterson fan) turned and said something to the effect of ‘If Marcus doesn’t take that 3, Coach Self will be angry with him.’ Jason ‘guffaws’ and says ‘I’m a huge Marcus fan, but I’d rather that instead of shooting a 3, he take the ball and chuck it into the 15th row of the stands. At least that way we have a chance against the fast break.’ Well everyone around starts to laugh and she leaves, not returning for the rest of the game. But the best part? Before even a third of the way through the season, she and Jason were fast friends. Again, his presence just draws attention (as well as his yelling and booing).
Jason loved Cadillac’s. The bigger and the older, the better. He bought them and he fought them. They were often not good to him but he loved them anyway. He once found a Cadillac in Kansas City he had to have. Somehow he convinced his brother to drive him there. On the way back home, doing about 75 mph, the hood of the Cadillac blows off with a resounding screech of ripping metal. It sailed up and over Jason's new dream car, over the SUV that Jordan was driving behind him and landed on a bridge a long, long ways away. Together, both of them brimming with frustration and more than a little anger, trudged back to bridge to retrieve the hood. Stuffing it in the back of our Expedition they made it home late, late that night. If you’re interested in learning more about this, we invite you to his parent’s backyard where (as the neighbors might grudgingly attest to) the hood is still residing (the Caddy long since retired). He never wavered in his passion for the Cadillac’s.
Jason and his Grandpa (Papa) were inseparable. They went golf ball hunting together. They went biking together and travelling together. They battled at Jeopardy almost daily. They golfed and took batting practice together. When you took batting practice with Papa, you had to PULL the ball. Left field only. If you failed to do so, you had to drop the bat and shag the ball yourself. He was ‘PULL the ball Papa.’
So one Saturday Papa called. He was on his way over to get an 8 year old Jason to go biking. Unbeknownst to the adults the brakes on Jason's bike had failed. Not a little but more along the line of cover your head and scream. He told Papa this news on the way down the street. But if Papa was anything - he was optimistic. `You'll be fine` he said, ‘we’re only going on the bike path.’ If you were ever on the Wichita/Arkansas River bike path in the 80’s/90’s, you know, there were hills. Hills big enough to gain some momentum. From Watson Park to almost Sims Park, Jason persevered. But the hill at the Seneca Street/McLean Bridge was next. Down the hill he went, and it was too much. He shot off of the bike path, onto the dirt and grass area, alongside the river. Trying desperately to slow his momentum, with Papa yelling behind, he upset 3 geese, 2 ducks, 1 really angry fisherman, shot past the hairpin turn and into the bushes. No worries. It’s okay, his face broke the fall. 2 hours later he and Papa rolled back into drive, scraped, bruised and bloodied talking about the best ride of their lives.
Jason was a city boy through and through. Country was foreign to him and might as well have been on another continent speaking another language. But he had close family living in the country. His Dad and wife Julie, his brother Ian and his sisters Ashli and Andrea. And messing with the city boy, well that’s always entertainment. One night his Dad (Ron) and Jason decide to go fishing. Its nighttime and his Dad tells him to just follow behind him on the path. Its dark, but he knows the way. Well if you know Jason, sometimes following instructions was a challenge because at 16 years old, he knew the best way, and sometimes it wasn’t his parent’s way. So Jason doesn’t follow behind on the path, he’s walking more in the field. Walking, in the dark, in a field, in the country, well – things happen. And it did. Jason steps right on a mama cow who is lying in the field with her calf. And she is not happy and makes a ruckus, rising to start after Jason. If you think that Mama Cow reacted quickly, you should have seen Jason. It freaked that city boy out. He moved his teenage body at light speed, back to the path, back down the path (about a ¼ mile), and past the truck about another ¼ mile, learning in the process that sometimes, Dad does know best. It took his Dad some time to convince him to go ahead and fish as Jason was certain that the killer Cow (or other killer cows) were waiting to finish the job. Great times in the foreign country of rural Kansas.
As we always said with Jason, there is no middle ground. He’s all in. Moderation was not in his vocabulary. If you were his friend, his loyalty was concrete. Day or night, Jason was there. His need to protect those he loved was extreme. I know of very few friendships that Jason made over the years that are not still friendships today. He was committed.
He was committed to the kids in his care as a Foster parent. His patience, nothing short of amazing. He was committed to the kids that he coached and trained in basketball. Following them all the way through school, calling to check up on them through the years. How are you doing? Are you liking school? How is it going with basketball? Sincere caring and interest in their lives. Can I help?
We love you Jason Matthew. We all do. You were one of a kind and while our lives are so much better for knowing you, they will also be so much emptier without you.
Talk with Jesus. I know that all your hurts and worries are now gone.
See Papa and Grandpa Bill. Hug Mamaw. You can hopefully even Rock Chalk with Wilt. We love you and we miss you.
Hey Jason – you know the game where Wilt scored 100 when he played for Philadelphia? The number one thing heard on the court that day?
‘Hey Wilt, I’m open.’
A gofundme account for Yandi has been established
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