Finishing the Race
Kimball Matkins, 1955 - 2009
The campus community was saddened last Thursday with the news that former Director of Financial Aid, Kimball Matkins, had passed away in his home in York early that morning. Matkins (53) had been battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) since he was diagnosed with the illness in the early months of 2006. Despite his weakened state, he was a constant source of encouragement for the student body and spoke frequently in chapel. Last spring, even though he had resigned from his position at the college two weeks into the academic year, he was honored with the Staff Member of the Year award.
Matkins came to York as a student in 1974 where he met his first wife Debbie Lewis. They made their home in Des Moines, Iowa for 22 years, raising their two children Jason and Jenna in the capital city. In 1999, Debbie was diagnosed with lung cancer. Seven months later, she was gone. At the time, Jason and Jenna were both students at YC; so Kimball moved to York in 2001 and took a job as an admissions counselor.
In his lifetime, Kimball served as an unofficial youth minister, a deacon, and an elder. He sat on the board at Larsen Christian Academy in York, and even in his illness, continued to travel around the Midwest to do guest preaching. Kimball ministered to countless friends and classmates with his emails, updating us regularly on his condition. Though these emails often contained bad news about his health, Kimball managed to make them positive and encouraging, always focused on God’s blessings.
Kimball will long be remembered for the impact he made on so many, perhaps most significantly, the hundreds of students whose lives he changed by encouraging them to attend York College. He will be remembered for his joyful spirit, his love of hugs, his willingness to serve others, and his passion for God.
“It’s not about you,” Matkins told the student body in a powerful chapel talk last year. He reminded them about God’s purpose for their lives even when it looks like He’s not there. And as he said on a daily basis, “God is good… all the time.”
A memorial service for Kimball was held Tuesday, March 31, at the East Hill Church of Christ in York. The auditorium was filled with friends and family who were challenged to emulate his life as he had emulated Christ.
"Kim didn't see himself as a victim. He saw himself as an ambassador of Christ. I'm going to live my life differently because of him."
"In fifteen years of playing ball in the majors, Lou Gehrig never missed a game; he never took a day off. It's fitting Kimball's disease was named after him. When it came to his faith, he never took a day off... Was there anyone easier to love than Kimball?"