Aug. 15, “with a bit of cheerleading from me, we walked to the riverside of the Umpqua to fish, not knowing if it would be one of the last fishing trips or not. Such a special day,” Amber Matchulat said.

ROSWELL, N.M. – Two of our daughters, Gloria and Michele, and I just picked up a new puppy that we’re bringing home to Oregon. Grizz will never replace the very special place that Gloria’s Cappy will always hold in our hearts, but he’s opened one of his own already. He’s 9 weeks old and is sleeping beside me in his soft crate in the back seat of the car as we make our way back home.

The sun is shining and it’s about 60 degrees, but despite our joy over meeting Grizz, we just learned of the passing of one of the strongest, bravest men I have ever known. Michael Matchulat died on Veterans Day after spending the past six years battling cancer. He undoubtedly had his wife, Amber and his family at his side. Michael grew up in Lorane with his parents and his four sisters. He was the youngest of the 5 siblings and was adored by all.

For the first couple of years of his battle with cancer, he shared his journey on the pages of the Lorane Facebook page, and even though he hadn’t been known before by some, his shared experiences pierced the hearts of each of us as he met, and seemingly overcame, each obstacle that the “Big C” presented him.

Later, Michael wrote of not only his experiences with cancer, but of his happier life’s experiences while growing up in Lorane, on the pages of the Groundwaters anthologies. (There are two of them included in our soon-to-be published 2021 edition.) He was an intelligent, warm, imaginative man who never lost his sense of humor or love of life.

Michael was indeed surrounded by his wife, Amber, her mother, and his own Matchulat family as he “transitioned.”

Before he became too ill to finish the project, he asked me to help him put his experiences and writings into a book. All that remained for him to do was to design a cover. I will see that it gets published with the help of his family.

In the meantime, Jim and I send our deep condolences to the Matchulat family. Our hearts are broken. May you rest in peace, Michael.