Jones was a father, student, Army Ranger
Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:03
Matthew Jones' smile was infectious.
Whenever people saw the 27-year-old, they couldn't help themselves. His humorous nature, bubbly personality and propensity for seeing the good in everything drew in friends and faculty, regardless of the situation.
"Every single time I spoke with him, no matter what the circumstance was, he had a smile on his face," said Frankie Weinberg, assistant business professor. "It would really enliven any type of situation and make people feel welcome. More than anything, that smile is what's ingrained the most in my memory of Matt."
Mr. Jones, finance and accounting double senior, died Feb. 26 after sustaining injuries from a motorcycle accident the previous weekend. He leaves behind his wife, Noele, and three children: Kaitlyn, Abigail and Aidan.
"It's heartbreaking," said Angla Hoffer, associate dean of the College of Business. "Anytime you have a death of a young person, it's really sad, especially in his situation, being a young father."
Weinberg, like Hoffer, attended Mr. Jones' funeral March 3 to offer his condolences to the family and pay his last respects to one of his former students.
"The world is certainly worse off without Matt," Weinberg said.
Those who knew him personally said they remember Mr. Jones not by the circumstance of his death but by the combination of roles that characterize him as a person and define the way he chose to live. It's what Dante Robinson, business management senior, said made Mr. Jones such a special person.
He was a father, a husband, a son, a brother, his daughter's soccer coach, an Army Ranger, a Delta Sigma Pi fraternity member, a jokester, a true patriot, a Bronze Star Medal recipient and an optimist. The list goes on.
"Although Matt's time here was short, he was able to fulfill so many of the dreams we all long to do: marriage, children and making a difference for his country," Robinson said.
One dream Mr. Jones was unable to fulfill before his death is getting his bachelor's degree. Prior to transferring to Loyola in 2010, Jones postponed his education to serve his country for seven years as an Army Ranger almost immediately following graduation from De La Salle high school.
"I think it really shows how selfless Matt was as a person," Hoffer said. "To me, it seemed like (Matt). Putting others before himself was something that spoke to his true character."
For his friends and professors, Mr. Jones' thirst for knowledge was evident. Weinberg said Jones would always engage guest speakers after class to get a better understanding of where they got their information and what sources they used so he could conduct further research on the topics discussed in class. One subject in particular, which Jones took a deep interest in, happened to be gender-specific forms of communication.
"It's not necessarily focused on whether you are a man or woman per se, but more whether you speak in a way that tends to be more masculine or feminine," Weinberg said. "And Matt, having been a Ranger for so long, was just engrossed in masculine forms and assertive forms of communication."
Weinberg said he remembers several other instances in the classroom that spoke volumes about Mr. Jones as a student, a leader in the business school and the qualities that made him successful.
"Matthew was truly one of the most outstanding men I have ever had the chance to meet. He was just this well-rounded gentleman in every regard, a great father and just an outstanding student," Weinberg said. "He went above and beyond in the classroom and dedicated himself to business, which happened to be his new calling."
Mr. Jones' unexpected death still hasn't fully resonated with Robinson or Weinberg. However, both said they know he is in a better place.
Robinson added: "It's going to take time to adjust to not seeing Matt again, but I take comfort in knowing he's at peace and his soul is free."
Craig Malveaux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org