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Eulogy for a Motorcyclist

by Martin Hackworth 

Photos: Josh Kent

Curt Matkin, August 6, 1961 - February 8, 2009

     Curt Matkin was my friend. He was a friend to a lot of people. At his service on Valentine's day the funeral home was filled well beyond capacity (650+). We were all briefly worried that the authorities might show up and shut down the service until we realized that one of Curt's many friends, the Fire Marshal, was seated in the second row and a little too misty to be conducting a head count.

     Curt was a motorcycle person. At various points along his journey through life he sampled a broad swath of two-wheeled fun including everything that's important. Equally at home on his beloved Harley or his vintage Husqvarnas, Curt could actually ride. He wasn't a big one for talking a lot about it but he could ride. Curt was the kind of guy who'd climb on his Harley for a Sunday soiree with the cool guys wearing Dickies, a cowboy vest, a beer tuque, New Balance running shoes and a western button up dress shirt with the tail hanging out - hardly the Harley boutique getup. Curt didn't give a hoot. He was all about the ride and not how he looked doing it. And though we are not normally big on bandannas, loud pipes and sneakers as protective accouterments, Curt's motif was original and practical as far as he was concerned (he made no pretense that it was anything else) and that makes him our kind of guy.    

    Though I knew Curt well I rode with him only a few times over the years because we traveled in different circles when it came to motorcycles. I remember once riding down a long hill in front of Curt, no hands and standing on the pegs, leaning the bike through several long corners at speed. When Curt rolled up beside me at the bottom of the hill he admonished me "well that was sure crazy." But a few weeks later I saw a cell phone pic snapped by a mutual friend of Curt attempting a similar stunt. I got an enormous kick out of that. I have no doubt that the next time we got together he was planning on surprising me by taking away the inside line no hands.

     Though Curt was widely known as the person to see when you needed a favor (he'd do anything for his friends - which is why he had so many) he would occasionally ask someone else for advice or help. If you were that person it was a big deal. He came to me once for advice concerning a messy, weighty, emotional issue of a type that I unfortunately had prior experience with. I remember sitting down in a quite corner of Hooligans Pub, where Curt worked for the best part of a decade, and laying out the options. The first thing we discussed was that he might not feel the exact way a year or two down the road as he was at the time and to be careful about acting rashly or taking an undisciplined short view of the situation - especially since others were involved. With Curt this required no explanation. And that's how I'm going to remember him. 

     Curt Matkin died of natural causes on February 8, 2009 in Pocatello, ID. He was 47 at the time of his death. He is survived by two young daughters. Rest well, friend.
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