Matthew Ryan Pheanis Preston
November 07, 1977 - October 03, 2001

Full Name: Matthew Ryan Pheanis Preston
Date of Birth: November 07, 1977
Date of Death: October 03, 2001
Country of Birth: United States
Place of Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio
Place of Death: Tucson, Arizona
Memberships: Registered Emergency Medical Technician; Eagle Scout BSA; Graduate of University of Arizona with Bachelor of Science Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology

To the person trying to reach Collin Forbes, or Adrienne. Please know your letters have been shared with me, they neither know how to respond. Collin did post on his face page, see Collin Forbes, picture is dark, a backlit bicycle.  I also posted on my page. I am Matthew's Mom. My facebook page is Melinda Pheanis Preston.  Matthew also has a facebook page, Matthew Preston. The picture is of he and I at his college graduation. I also put a note there. Please get in touch with me. I live at 1335 E Ellis Dr, Tempe, AZ 85282. Phone is (480) 251-7424.


Matthew was an amazing young man who was pursuing his PhD in Genetics at the University of Arizona in Tucson when he was killed on his bicycle riding home from school/work.  He was engaged to be married to a lovely and brilliant young woman who was finishing her degree at U of A and planning to go to Medical School.  I am so thankful that although she suffered such a great loss that she was able to return to school and complete her dream of becoming a physician. 

Matthew had a younger brother, David who was only 16 when Matthew was killed.  Matthew, being 7.5 years older was more than just a brother, he was a bit of a father figure also.  They were very close in spite of the difference in their ages.  Mom raised the boys alone, and was active with them in Boy Scouts, skiing, team sports as they grew up and in band at school.  They both played trumpet.  She taught them many things including word working skills, how to work on a car, home maintenance, how to love and be loved.  They would go on hikes, camping trips, travel to see new places and familiar faces as often as was possible. 

Mom taught Matthew to ski when he was 4 years old and he really took to it becoming an excellent skier.  When he was only 14 and taking a lesson at Steamboat Springs, the instructor told Mom that he really couldn't teach Matthew anything more since he had mastered skills that even the instructor didn't have at the time.  They were advised to move to snow country, but the move was a bit more than Mom could manage, so that didn't occur.  But Matthew continued to excel at skiing and then boarding also.  He always preferred the skis though.

Matthew took up rock climbing and enjoyed it a great deal, teaching the skills to his fiancé Adrienne, and then also assisting his past Boy Scout Troop in a rock climb and serving as their medical person on site.  He was an avid hiker and loved being in the mountains or the desert.  He hiked so many trails with his Boy Scout troop and though was the smallest physically on the Philmont Trek of about 65 miles, carried more than his share of the supplies and maintained a good pace, never complaining.  One of his favorite hikes was the 11-mile drop into Havasu.  He and Mom and David and Adrienne made the trip together.  Matthew was such a loving son and stayed back with Mom who wasn't traveling the path as quickly. 

Matthew also worked as a Wild Land Forest Fire Fighter who was based in Tucson.  He had been to many fires, but his most memorable time was going to Nevada on a Hot Shot Crew for a two-week stint in the wild fires there.  He slept in short spurts wrapped in a fireproof blanket as near to the trucks as he could stay.  He was dropped into fire sites with his pack and tools by helicopter at times.  He only slept in a bed two times during that experience.  His love of nature and desire to keep not only the forest intact, but animals and people safe, was a motivating force in his life.  He followed his dreams and lived life to the fullest for his short almost 24 years.

Matthew was an avid learner and read voraciously.  He read Atlas Shrugged twice before he was 22 years old.  He loved languages and besides being in advanced science classes, he ended up taking several languages.   He became proficient in speaking Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.  He enjoyed trying out his skills when visiting Adrienne who was in Spain for a semester.  He'd begun teaching himself Greek and had a shoebox full of note/flash cards he'd made in learning the new language.

Matthew had many friends in all walks of life and could communicate at so many levels.  He was a little worried about Mom being able to almost read his mind, but at times felt it was such an advantage for him.  Many others considered him a best friend, but Matthew never chose to identify anyone as his best friend saying to Mom, 'I know he considers me his best friend, but then again so do a lot of people.'

Matthew had a wonderful German Shepherd, Amy.  She now lives with Mom and is such a joy.  He and Adrienne also had a new dog, Josie.  We think she is a whippet, such energy that one has.  Adrienne has Josie with her where she lives now while in her emergency medicine residency.  Mom and David love being able to be in touch with Adrienne still.  We both hope for her to someday find love again and be happy.

Mom established a tribute for Matthew by purchasing the home on the corner where he was killed.  It's Matthew's Manor and houses students who are attending graduate school or medical school at U of A.  Mom was helping Matthew by providing safe and inexpensive housing for him as he went to graduate school and wanted to help others in his name.  If you want to know more or contribute to this endeavor, get in touch.  There are so many personal stories in Matthew’s life that Mom and David and Adrienne could write but certainly no real room for it all here. 

Losing a child is the most penetrating wound that one can have.  It doesn't actually heal, but because others don't actually understand the wound and can't tolerate the feeling Mom has, fearing it could also happen to them, it becomes a bit invisible to others after some time.  But the effects show up readily to those who stay close to Mom, David, and Adrienne.  It's a daily mountain to climb and a deep sea to fall into at night.  There's no real relief, just learning to manage it and fake it better.  Mom now belongs to the club with the highest membership fee.  Faith is important and the true support when all others fade away as they do.  David struggled for a few years with poor decision-making and subsequent behaviors that put him at risk for many disasters.  He also lost his way in faith for a while but he's found more peace in himself now being close to God as Mom is.... We remained blessed by the grace of God and look forward to seeing Matthew again.

We miss Matthew so very much . . . .



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