Our husband, father and friend Matthew Thomas Organ died peacefully at home March 10, 2023 surrounded by family after a long battle with cancer. He was born February 12, 1960 at Saint Ignatius Hospital in Colfax, WA. His parents, Don and Shelley Organ raised him in Colfax where he graduated from high school. Matt began working at age 12 helping his dad and grandfather Emmett Jahnke at J & O Builder’s construction sites and throughout high school worked for Jim Kincaid during harvest and A & W in the off season. Matt received his Associates degree in Law Enforcement from Spokane Community College in 1980 and from there he began his 32 year law enforcement career working for City of Moscow, Whitman County, Thurston County and ending in 2012 when he retired from Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office. During his 32-year career he earned numerous awards and accolades for his outstanding achievements. Matt often expressed that there was never a day in his career that he didn’t have fun.
During his time in Grays Harbor County he coached the Elma High School Equestrian team for four years where he was a positive influence for the riders and horses. Matt is described as being the biggest fan of the underdog rider and was always there providing emotional and often financial support.
Matt had many skills and passions too numerous to count but some that stand out are his love his books and learning, leather work, boating on Puget Sound, and his full heart of love for his family and pets. Matt had a lifelong passion for firearms beginning at a very young age. He was an incredible craftsman with an eye for detail. He strove for perfection by mastering every element of gunsmithing and competitive shooting. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, and a participant in the Cast Bullet Association matches held at the Spokane Rifle Club. He was also a participant in several internet forums that promoted cast bullet shooting and many of the cast bullet shooters sought advice from Matt due to his extensive experience and knowledge of all types of firearms.
In 2015 he moved back to Whitman County and began a second rewarding career wearing many hats for Spokane Seed Company in Colfax and was able to maintain his employment until his death. Known as “the old man” he enjoyed learning new skills, rekindling old friendships, making new ones and was very passionate about mentoring the younger generation.
Matt is survived by his wife Julie, his son Tom (Tiffani) Organ, St John, WA, stepson Nathan (Stephanie) Burgher Tumwater, WA, daughter Hannah Landers-Hilpert (Gilbert), Clifton, AZ; siblings Donna (Gary) Burger, Burleson TX, Bon (Jeff) Laramee, Eugene, OR, Gayle (Chris) Larson, Saint Maries, ID, Charlie (Kelli) Spokane, WA, his aunt Mary Anne (Les) Birr, Vancouver, WA; his grandchildren Peyton Organ, Cash Organ, Emmy Lou Burgher, Juniper Burgher and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews.
Julie, Tom and Nate want to express their gratitude to the Summit Cancer Center oncologist, nurses and staff as well as Whitman Hospital and Medical Center doctors, nurses and staff for their dedication to Matt’s care, to Spokane Seed for their undying support of Matt through the three plus years of treatment and allowing him to work when he could, and to all the friends, family and those we’ve never met who sent up prayers and gave hope and encouragement during his journey with cancer.
The family suggest Memorial donations be made to St. John-Endicott Foundation, PO Box 58, St. John, WA 99171 for a scholarship awarded to a student dedicated to trap shooting. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 11:00 AM at the Colfax Methodist Church. A graveside service to follow at the St. John Cemetery. Corbeill Funeral Home of Colfax is caring for the family. On-line condolences may be made at www.corbeillfuneralhomes.com.