Mathew Gideon Boissevain
  • 81 years old
  • Date of birth: Apr 25, 1931
  • Place of birth:
    Virginia, United States
  • Date of passing: Jun 14, 2012
  • Place of passing:
    Austin, Texas, United States
Let's celebrate his life

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Mathew Boissevain, 81, born on April 25, 1931 and passed away on June 15, 2012. We will remember him forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Dave Steel on 16th July 2016


I know I'm a little late to the table with this but I just read about Mat's passing and thought I'd add some comments.

Almost 40 years go I worked for the Measurex Corporation as a field engineer based in New Jersey.

Sensors that could connect to a computer system, at the time, were something new. The thinking that Mat brought forth at that time was so far ahead of its time that no one has been able to develop anything to beat them - even today.

I can't imagine the brain power he must have had, the ability to think creatively and so far out of the box. He was, in my mind - a true genius."

This tribute was added by Todd Gieseler on 2nd July 2016

"I have a long history mistrusting and ultimately not believing in the written word. So, to convey and express, especially about a person who has had a profound effect upon my life, and whom I’ve loved falls short, but what else do we have? Pictures, yes, music he played for me, his harmonica playing? I give this scrawl to my close friend Chris Boissevain who appeared soon after Thijs’ death to need me to comment.
  Thijs helped me understand inextricably many things and words/ language was one of them. He wasn’t a writer, he practiced reading; he left the writing to the talents of Angie and Chris. His talent, genius really, and what he thrived in naturally was in the physical phenomenal world. Anybody who reads this here already knows that about him. Still some may not know that this is probably where my respect, appreciation, and perhaps a sense of wonder about him started…so long ago. It was how he lived and his unique countenance that surrounded his lifestyle that I responded too in the beginning. At the time I desperately needed a different way from being raised in the suburbs of Sunnyvale as a young kid. I moved to Los Altos Hills as a teenager with my family that brought with them suburban values; the manicured golfing lawn where no golfing clubs existed. Just over the hill was a different aesthetic surrounding Duveneck Vally. Some families, or so it seemed to me, took refuge from the insanity of growth the lit up Silicon Valley and mass produced values. Eventually though Guy Ayers I met the Boissevain family with whom I found a yet to be revealed; kinship, respect, had shared fun, joy, laughter, interests, sharing, raising our children of the same age, honored, and lived many beautiful years which I will take with me to my dying day.  Long ago Tobie gave me the old family’s 1971 510 wagon that Thijs, Chris, Tobe, and especially I think (Angie) drove. Thijs liked cars, had a keen eye for good engineering of course and bought this one apparently from what Rev Ayers said, ( Guy’s dad ), “the only Japanese car that he could fit in comfortably”. Later Thijs gave me his trailer that he resuscitated after Tom Sherlock threw it away down in some gully off Sherlock Road, so the story goes. I tow it with the 510 to the annual dump days here in the hills. Any old who,  I drive this car, a sort of memorial to Thijs; seeing my face occasionally in the speedometer glass like his did, I reflect on him often. ( Still have it, after the recent paint job, the reglued plastic Olympus camera box that carry a collection of metric wrenches )

another note-
On occasion I sit out back of my house, sometimes with a beer and gaze drifting back as I look at Elephant Mountain from a farther distance  than where Thijs and family viewed it just outside their house. Realizing long ago Thijs was a young father over there tucked away from the hustle of the growing bay area...thriving inventing, his mind liberated by the big sky of Duveneck Valley. In a way; a minor way as I am too here. It warms me to imagine the precious time for my dear close friend as a boy of Thijs. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the beauty that existed.
  " The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one;you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same, Nor should you be the same nor would you want to" Elizabeth Kubler Ross and John Hessler"

This tribute was added by charis boissevain on 15th June 2016

"Our wonderful Opa-miss u so very much!! Hard to believe it has been 4 years now - I continue to play your favorite Fado and Joan Baez. Proud of you always. Love Charis,Leah and Lily"

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 14th June 2016

"This past weekend, I traveled up to Ojai to meet a bunch of the girls from the Canyon (Sierra Madre). We reminisced,.... we talked about Matt. Good times :-)
I sometimes run across a nail ....or something that belonged to Matt and it makes me happy."

This tribute was added by chris boissevain on 25th April 2016

"I was just with Jen listening to the wind in the trees, his favorite music"

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 25th April 2016

"Still miss the never-to-be-replaced-one-of-a-kind-man!
We were just recently talking about him….and his underground air conditioning unit that he made for his canyon abode."

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 5th November 2015

"Missing Matt today!"

This tribute was added by charis boissevain on 10th June 2015

"In a few days is will be exactly 3 years since Opa passed.What an honor it was to take care of him during that final chapter of his life.Opa would be happy to know that on June 14 our lovely Leah will be flying to stunning Cape Town,South Africa to be with my Mom for the Summer.What great times we all had with Opa when he joined my family in Africa."

This tribute was added by charis boissevain on 25th April 2015

"Thinking of Opa on his Birthday. I miss him always."

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 10th April 2015

"Leah & Lily, you were both lucky to have such a great, funny, fun, interesting Opa. I'm glad you think of him and that he will be part of you forever. Xo"

This tribute was added by Leah Boissevain on 9th April 2015

"Opa was such a big part of my life , and was a great grandfather to me and my sister lily . I miss him so much ,and I cherish the time I spent with my beloved opa. He was always there for me no matter what . Although I miss him I know that he had a great life , and had great friends and family around him ."

This tribute was added by charis boissevain on 21st November 2014

"Always think of you dear Opa. I watched a documentary on the Korean War and now i understand why u cried when u spoke to me about your platoon and friends that were killed in Korea. Will be missing you this holiday season. You would be happy to know that Chris and Ben and Sophia and Leah are together this Thanksgiving. Will light holiday candles for you. You are always in our hearts. Love and miss you."

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 14th June 2014

"Oh! And I almost forgot----I was in the basement of the house (woodland) and saw some of Matts old labels (screws, etc).
I get to see that every time I visit.
(I bought, and now rent- a house once owned by Chris & Charis)"

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 14th June 2014

"Always will remember Matt, he was a one in a million person. I found his autobiography recently. Was great to come across and 'visit' with Mattis for awhile.
I am going to Sierra Madre today. I think I'll go check out his old place.

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 11th December 2013

"We tell stories about Matt, or retell 'his' interesting and sometimes hilarious stories- often :-)"

This tribute was added by charis boissevain on 9th December 2013

"Two days ago Lily and Helen lay flowers at the Cape Town town hall for Nelson Mandela. I wanted to lay a flower for u too as you will always be a hero to me."

This tribute was added by Helen Pickard on 25th April 2013

"it was a great day for the planet the day Opa was born and a very sad day when he left.  His  enquiring mind, his open generous spirit, his kindness, his wonderful sense of humor and naughtiness is still missed. His hardships during his World War 11 childhood never left him bitter. I was lucky to have shared the same grand-daughters with him and to have had him loving Charis so much."

This tribute was added by Martina Flammer on 22nd July 2012

"Thijs is a free spirit, who enjoyed life daily and was able not to worry about the future. He did little planning, he could do without it,very difficult for most of us.When he had to choose between the Dutch and US citizenship,it came down to "the best chocolate milk shakes and free open spaces".
I try hard to be just a little like him!"

This tribute was added by Ben Boissevain on 7th July 2012

"We had many great adventures together. As the "fun son", it was my duty to make sure he had fun. He did indeed. He squeezed every drop of pleasure out of life. We visited Amsterdam, his favorite city, Berlin, his suggestion to overcome his anger at Germans, and Riga, my suggestion since it is a charming city. He was an excellent travel companion, never complaining and always very creative."

This tribute was added by malinda myers on 7th July 2012

"Mat is one of a kind. He is part of my fabric in life. I am glad to have known him and kept him in my heart.
Thinking of Mat- brings thought of funny/interesting stories, situations, these These stories and situations give me ... Laughter, wonderment, and a smile.
He is missed by many. I will always treasure his autobiography that he gave to  me."

This tribute was added by Rob Atkinson on 6th July 2012

"What was Mat's most valuable contribution to the continuum? What exotic tools now hang in our shop? His legacy's a viable formula for joy -the same that served him throughout his life, drawing a host of friends & family to his side. With a glad heart and tenacious intelect, Mat set about extracting such joy as might be had from his remarkable life, and loved his people with a like passion."

This tribute was added by chris boissevain on 1st July 2012

"This is a work in progress. If anyone wants to add stories or pics please feel free. Also, brothers, if either of you would like to co-administer site, I'd appreciate the help.


This tribute was added by chris boissevain on 1st July 2012

"Mat was my dad, and friend. I called him Opa, meaning grandpa in Dutch, because it was a role he relished. He was an eccentric, highly creative man with an open, questioning mind, and a warm heart. He was also complex, and not always easy. He lived an amazing life story. He had his dreams and desires to the end. His last words were "It might be an anomoly""

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chris boissevain


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