ForeverMissed
Matthew Ashton Hestad ( August 9, 1966- July 8, 2020)
     Like all of our house projects, this memorial project could not be rushed. It comes a year after your death, because, as was our way, it needed deliberate and intentional thinking, planning time, and most of all, love. The process of writing this was much heavier than the clawfoot tub (from Second Use) that we carried up the stairs of our house on 62nd, and even heavier than the board that you bought for the workbench (from Craigslist) that we lifted from the top of your truck and carried into the basement of our house on 51st. Both of those pushed our physical strength to full capacity... but we did it.  I would lift those heavy objects all over again, if I could lift them with you, Matt.   Love, Katy
     
Posted by Laura Morrison on July 16, 2022
I recently moved from my house of 18 years - a house I chose in part for its proximity to the Hestad's home in Upper Rainier Beach. In the final moments looking around a completely empty space - two years after Matt’s passing, I acknowledged the many projects Matt worked on to make it a home - the windows he repaired, the floors he finished on Fathers Day with my own dad, the front porch he helped build, the light fixtures installed….to name just a few. It is friends and family that make an old 1902 quirky house a home, and Matt, alongside Katy, Vincent, Bridget and the late-Angus helped fill this chapter of my life with love. It is time for a new chapter in so many ways…and while I cannot take pieces of the house with me, I move forward with so many happy memories and so much gratitude for friendship. ~ Laurie
Posted by Lauren Nehilla on August 20, 2021
I've had two particular reasons to think about Matt lately, and I thought it fitting to share them here.

First - the expiration dates on the milk at the grocery store are just about to cross over into being *after* the first day of school. I remember Matt talking about how this was the signal to him that summer was coming to an end, and I think of that - and him - every year at this time.

Second - I'm mainly a beer drinker, and always enjoyed talking with Matt about the breweries we'd each found and enjoyed with our respective families. However, we also shared a love of Bainbridge Island gin. My husband and I have been back on the Right Coast for three years, and we just - finally - found a place that sells Bainbridge Island. We opened the bottle tonight, and I'm toasting Matt.

Sending love to Katy, Vincent, and Bridget - know that your beloved husband and father lives on in the hearts of so many.
Posted by Tonya Tennessen on July 29, 2021
We make our way to the shores of Lake Kampeska tomorrow for the Hestad family reunion in Watertown. It's difficult knowing your deep voice and easy smile - and Katy's dear presence - won't be there when we pull into Bruce and Colleen's. I'll miss your hugs, our relaxed and oh so real conversations as couples - talking about life, about our kids, about the joys and challenges of parenting and marriage and work and all the things.

Matt, you remain a shining light - larger than life as my oldest cousin who could do anything, would DO anything for others and always looked so darn cool - too - as you did!! Water skiing, kayaking, mountain climbing, lighting off fire works, helping Erik with the smoker... sailing... fathering... teaching... I mean all of it.

I love you. I miss you. I will light a candle for you and think about you, Katy and your beautiful kids so much on the lake of your childhood.
Posted by Carol Eubanks on July 18, 2021
I’m so grateful to be able to call Matt my friend and to have had him as part of my journey. Tasha stopping over to our cabin and Jim Eubanks made us all a drink and we toasted to Matt…a loving, kind, adventurous, and devoted man❤️ I love that I have the memories of our gang hanging out in Seattle in the early 90’s and growing together and getting to know each other’s families. Pure delight
Posted by Molly Busacca on July 17, 2021
Katy, Vincent & Bridget - I am so grateful to read this website, view the pictures and think about how much we all miss Matt. I will never understand why the most special people amongst us seem to be the first to leave the earth. Matt was truly the "Best Wiswall". He was kind, funny and so gentle. Yet he had such a deep strength and love of family, good food, boat rides, sunsets on Lake Washington, being a Dad and a love for my sister that made her who she is today. Truly you were my brother - not just a brother-in-law. I loved the way you embraced our children - and even my fun loving husband (and I know he drove you crazy sometimes!!!).  I know he is watching over all of us - we just wish he was here. Love you all so much. Molly, Bruce, Anthony, Sophia & Isabella Busacca xoxox 
Posted by Diane Lee on July 13, 2021
Matt, Matt, Matt.... I sure miss seeing you in the morning at school. Even when I was there at 6:30 you would still beat me. There were a few days I didn't see your bike and knew I beat you only to find out you were attending a PD and had a sub. I enjoyed that part of my work day the most. I know you are watching over Katy, Vincent and Bridget. I see your warm smile of being so proud of them and how strong they are.
Until we meet again.... Love and hugs to you and your family.
Posted by Sophia Busacca on July 9, 2021
Uncle Matt- I miss you and your smile and sweet voice. One of my favorite memories is in your former house with the fence with the wave- Grammy was playing Tile Rummy with us and you were building my dream birdhouse.

Another favorite memory is pretending to be a Hestad and going to pick out your first paddleboard after you took Vincent and me surfing in Rincon.

I will cherish those memories. I saw a hummingbird in SF yesterday and felt your presence.

I am excited to see your kids and Aunt Katy this week- it will be strange to not have you there, but I know you will be smiling down on us esp when I force Bridget to make every tasty item from her Bridget’s recipe collection. I love you!

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Laura Morrison on July 16, 2022
I recently moved from my house of 18 years - a house I chose in part for its proximity to the Hestad's home in Upper Rainier Beach. In the final moments looking around a completely empty space - two years after Matt’s passing, I acknowledged the many projects Matt worked on to make it a home - the windows he repaired, the floors he finished on Fathers Day with my own dad, the front porch he helped build, the light fixtures installed….to name just a few. It is friends and family that make an old 1902 quirky house a home, and Matt, alongside Katy, Vincent, Bridget and the late-Angus helped fill this chapter of my life with love. It is time for a new chapter in so many ways…and while I cannot take pieces of the house with me, I move forward with so many happy memories and so much gratitude for friendship. ~ Laurie
Posted by Lauren Nehilla on August 20, 2021
I've had two particular reasons to think about Matt lately, and I thought it fitting to share them here.

First - the expiration dates on the milk at the grocery store are just about to cross over into being *after* the first day of school. I remember Matt talking about how this was the signal to him that summer was coming to an end, and I think of that - and him - every year at this time.

Second - I'm mainly a beer drinker, and always enjoyed talking with Matt about the breweries we'd each found and enjoyed with our respective families. However, we also shared a love of Bainbridge Island gin. My husband and I have been back on the Right Coast for three years, and we just - finally - found a place that sells Bainbridge Island. We opened the bottle tonight, and I'm toasting Matt.

Sending love to Katy, Vincent, and Bridget - know that your beloved husband and father lives on in the hearts of so many.
Posted by Tonya Tennessen on July 29, 2021
We make our way to the shores of Lake Kampeska tomorrow for the Hestad family reunion in Watertown. It's difficult knowing your deep voice and easy smile - and Katy's dear presence - won't be there when we pull into Bruce and Colleen's. I'll miss your hugs, our relaxed and oh so real conversations as couples - talking about life, about our kids, about the joys and challenges of parenting and marriage and work and all the things.

Matt, you remain a shining light - larger than life as my oldest cousin who could do anything, would DO anything for others and always looked so darn cool - too - as you did!! Water skiing, kayaking, mountain climbing, lighting off fire works, helping Erik with the smoker... sailing... fathering... teaching... I mean all of it.

I love you. I miss you. I will light a candle for you and think about you, Katy and your beautiful kids so much on the lake of your childhood.
his Life

Obituary Matthew Ashton Hestad August 9, 1966- July 8, 2020

Matt Hestad was born in Watertown, South Dakota, to George and MaryLou Hestad and had one younger brother, Jim (wife Kirke, son Kalifa, daughter Lulu). He was of proud his Mid-western roots as was evident in his close relations with both family and friends that he grew up with. He and made sure that his wife Katy, and two children, Vincent and Bridget knew all about his life in Watertown and living on Lake Kampeska, and made close connections with his extended family as they hosted family dinners and took road trips to family reunions.  In addition to his parents and brother, he is survived by his aunts, uncles and cousins…Uncle Bruce and Aunt Colleen Hestad, Cousins Jenny, Adam (Wife Jaime, children Josiah, Asher, Ivy and Roman), and Dana. Aunt Chris and Uncle Bob Tennessen, Cousins Tasha (Husband Tong, children Phoenix, Lucy and Maya), Tonya (Husband Erik, children Edward and Helen) and Tina (Husband Ben, children Isley and Marlow) and Mike. Aunt Anne and Uncle Jack Remein and Cousins Erin, John (wife Kinsey) and Mira, who is now by his side.

Matt was quick to make friends that would last his entire life. His Watertown friends, Curt Kellogg, Dave Lindberg. Brent Malcom, Aaron Mowbray, Chuck Aughenbaugh and Eric Bue, were near and dear to his heart and when he would connect with them, it was as if no time had passed. 

Matt graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in 1988 with degrees in Social Work and Psychology. When Matt talked about his days in college, it was the life-long friendships that brought a big smile and twinkle to his eyes. A twinkle that indicated great fun, and perhaps a bit of mischief... Jim Lundstrom, Erik Rolstad, Ross Anderson, Paul Finlayson, Chris Jorgenson, Adam Beck, John Stein.

 Soon after college, Matt moved to Seattle where he lived for the rest of his life. The Pacific Northwest was the perfect environment for Matt as he loved both the mountains and ocean. He loved to ski (water and snow), hike, mountaineer, backpack, kayak, paddleboard, sail, surf, skateboard, mountain bike. His activities list was long, full of fun, adventure and good times with family and friends. He did all of these sports with ease, incredible athleticism, enthusiasm, and an amazing ability to find all of the gear that he needed in second hand stores, yard sales, Craigslist, even on the side of the road. 

During Matt's early days of living in Seattle, he again made friends that would last his lifetime. Lydia Fasey, Barb Miranda, Carol Eubanks, Sarah Zachem, Carl Winter... and so many more.  His continued to build friendships all parts of his life, as a teacher, a father, a neighbor, a second-hand store shopper. He remained grateful for all of the his friendships, both old and new. 

Matt loved adventures, the greatest one being a husband and father. He is survived by his wife Katy, son Vincent and daughter Bridget. Matt and Katy met as they were both beginning their careers as elementary school teachers for Seattle Public Schools. They quickly became friends and fell in love. They were married on a rainy day in Seattle in July 2000 and, as Father Sullivan proclaimed that day, “Rainy wedding, sunny marriage!” They took those words to heart as their love, friendship and respect for one another grew stronger and deepened throughout their marriage and as they intentionally cultivated a beautiful life with their children, Vincent and Bridget. Matt absolutely loved being a husband and father and relished in all things that included the 4 of them together. Together meant cooking  (homemade pizza and Caesar Salad were #1), playing (frisbee, family game night playing cards and Sorry ...), learning (imagine having two teachers as parents!) traveling (road trips to California,  Montana, and South Dakota  were favorites), skiing (countless Saturdays at Alpental), swimming and boating in Lake Washington, never-ending house projects and of course, raising Angus the dog.

Being married to Katy also meant being a son-in-law, brother-in-law and uncle to a large family in California. Matt was absolutely loved and adored by the entire family.  He was preceded in death by his Father-in-law Chuck Wiswall and Sister-in-law Sara Wiswall-Pudiwitr, and is survived by his Mother-in-law Lynne, Sister and Brother-in-law Molly and Bruce Busacca (Anthony, Isabella and Sophia), Brother-in-law Buddy and Lisa Pudiwitr, Sister and Brother-in-law Claire Wiswall and Chirs Talerico (Mia), Brother-in-law George Wiswall (Charlie and Ashlyn), Brother and Sister-in-law Billy and Marie Wiswall (Liam, Garrett, Sara, Gavin). 

Matt was an educator at heart. He was a teacher for Seattle Public Schools for over 24 years and touched the lives of students, families and colleagues. He loved teaching the primary grades and took great delight in connecting with the families of his students, hearing about their lives and sharing stories of his life with them. He loved Writer's Workshop in particular as he could share stories of life at home with Katy, Vincent, Bridget and Angus.  Lesson planning and discussions of teaching practices were often a topic at home. When he and Katy would learn new teaching strategies they would frequently begin their practice at home with Bridget and Vincent. Their very favorite practice being social emotional learning with the RULER approach (thank you Marc Brackett). 

 Matt left this life way too soon. He was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine carcinoma in his brain in January 2019. It was an 18-month battle that no one should ever have to endure. His strength throughout was incredible. He loved this precious life and all that it held.  In his memory, we ask that you think and perhaps act upon things that were important to him: be kind to others, love your family and friends, eat good pizza, and look for good second hand deals. 

Recent stories

An Amazing Friend

Shared by Erik Rolstad on August 6, 2021
There is a cadre of us who became friends with Matt during our college years and early 20's. 

We maintained close ties, despite some significant gaps in time and major geographical distances, largely due to Matt's talent for staying in touch and keeping tabs on everyone via the occasional phone call, email, or text.

Whenever in town, we made sure to get together with him and Ross Anderson (who, along with Matt, has called Seattle home since they originally moved out Washington State in the late 80's). The goal was to have a nice meal together and get caught up.

And, over the decades, several of us old buddies had a handful (in every sense of the word) of epic and awesomely fun outdoor adventures with Matt via bike, raft, kayak, backpack, and/or skis.

In many ways, Mat was the glue that bound us. Matt's open, friendly personality, dedication to family, friends, and colleagues, and his unique combination of abilities exerted a special kind of gravity that drew people together in a positive way.
I love the way Matt laughed... chewed... smiled... provided encouragement... genuinely asked how you were doing... and generously shared the warmth and confident force of his personality.
Here are some of the words that I use to describe Matt, especially in the context of special visits to Seattle and outdoor adventures together:

Strong body
Open heart
Bright spirit

Decisive leader
Exemplary educator
Skilled artesian

Infectious laugh
Competitive streak
Family man

Trickster
Fun hog
Friend

We miss you buddy (a.k.a. "You big punk!"). You remain true and strong in our hearts. You forever bind us together.

The Greatest American Hero

Shared by Claire Wiswall on July 18, 2021
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Matt has passed. It seems like just yesterday that I met the amazing man my sister would marry. When I first met Matt, I was struck by his uncanny resemblance to William Katt in the 80's sitcom The Greatest American Hero. For those of you that aren't familiar with this show, it was about a high school teacher on a field trip that basically gets visited by aliens and is endowed with special powers to fight injustice (even better than Mork and Mindy in my opinion). It was the blonde curls and the bright eyes along with his good nature that reminded me of my favorite character.

Over the years, Matt did not disappoint. He was an amazing brother-in-law, uncle, husband, father, son-in-law, teacher and friend. He always knew just what to say or not say. He would make the trek to Bakersfield with Katy and the kids for many holidays without a complaint. He would arrive with a smile and offer to help prepare a meal (his Caesar was truly the best), make a list of projects to complete at Mom's house and still find time to be present and make you feel like he truly wanted to hear all about your life.

Matt and Katy hosted my family countless times over the years. Matt always made sure to connect with me prior to our arrival, not just for our flight details (of course he would be there to get us at any hour) but to plan our meals. He would ask what type of beer, wine, cocktails we fancied. He would ask about our food preferences and caffeine requirements. He would also ask about the music I was listening to and what activities we'd like to enjoy while in town. Needless to say, the Greatest American Hero did not disappoint :) He would have everything ready so he could just be present and enjoy our company. I'd like to remember Matt just like this. Sitting on the deck with a slice of homemade pizza surrounded by family and listening to some good music. He truly was my hero and I am grateful that he and Katy built a beautiful life together. He taught me so much about life by his example and I will always be thankful that he joined the Wiswall Family. 

Dear Family and Friends

Shared by Katy Hestad on July 9, 2021
Dear Family and Friends,

We invite you to share stories and photos of Matt on on this memorial website. The site is fairly easy to navigate. There 4 main tabs:  ABOUT, LIFE, GALLERY, STORIES

ABOUT: Here you will find a note about this memorial page from Katy to Matt. You can also write a tribute note in this section. 
LIFE tab: Here you will find the obituary.
GALLERY: Here you will find 3 tabs (photos, videos and  pictures). We have posted the video from the Zoom funeral (thank you to Anthony Busacca and Tati Bedi), as well as a slide show that we, Katy, Vincent and Bridget, created. You are very welcome to add more to this page. 
STORIES: We welcome you to share stories, memories and thoughts of Matt. 

With much love,
Katy, Vincent and Bridget