Matthew Conlin-De-Haven gets some love from his mom Kimberly De Haven at his 2012 Clarence Fulton graduation ceremony. (Submitted)

Okanagan son taken too soon

24-year-old Vernon-raised Kelowna resident died suddenly

“I hugged him and told him I loved him the night before, not realizing a few hours later he would be gone,” said Kimberly De Haven.

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare, which De Haven is living since her 24-year-old son died suddenly March 30.

It’s still unknown what Matthew Thomas Martin “Matty” Conlin-De-Haven died from in his Kelowna home.

“His star was dashed far too soon,” said his mom of the surreal incident. “He was my rock.”

See: Matthew Thomas Martin ‘Matty’ Conlin-De-Haven

Born and raised in Vernon, Matty lived in Kelowna with his love Jasmine.

Before moving to the bigger city for more opportunities, Matty attended West Vernon Elementary and Clarence Fulton.

“We’re all Fulton alum, all my kids and me,” said Kimberly of her youngest son Brandon, 22, and daughter Lindsey, 27.

Matty was also a loving uncle to his niece Rosie and nephew Oliver.

“He turned into a big kid every time he was around them,” said Kimberly. “His favourite thing was throwing his nephew up in the air every time he saw him, which his nephew loved.”

Family was very important to the doting and loving Matty, who lived for his grandma Anna.

“Shortly before he died he had taken her out for lunch,” said Kimberly of her kind-hearted son.

It’s a softer side to the buff, weight-training Matty, who had a passion for health.

“He trained at different gyms, Fitness West was his first,” said Kimberly, adding he also trained at Kees Taekwondo.

“He patented his own company, Reflextion Fitness. That was his own brand. He would train out of Gravity (Fitness in Kelowna). He not only worked out himself, he trained people.”

He also loved his second job at Budget Car Rentals at the Kelowna International Airport, and was going to school to further his education.

“He was so driven. I told him once when he was 12 or 13 and wanted to buy something I wasn’t sure if I could afford it. That same day he went and got a job at McDonald’s to buy it himself,” said his mom.

See also: Support sought for Armstrong teen who lost father to cancer

The hard worker bought his first vehicle on his own and anything he wanted to do, he didn’t have to think about it, added Kimberly, he would just do it.

“He was someone I would aspire to be.”

He also worked at Baker’s Dozen before it closed and Target, where he was constantly being praised and earning benefits.

Between his customer service jobs and training at the gyms, Matty met a lot of people, and touched a lot of lives.

That is evident to his mom by the number of condolences she’s received. And she expects the service today at Vernon Alliance Church at 11 a.m. will be full.

“I didn’t even realize how many people he talked to or trained.”

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations in memory of Matty go to the cystic fibrosis clinic at Children’s Hospital, K3-189-4480 Oak St., Vancouver.

“His niece has cystic fibrosis. I thought he would appreciate (directing donations there),” said Kimberly. “She is going to have a long road ahead of her.”


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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