Title: Army Air Corps Staff Sergeant, World War II
Birthdate: September 28, 1920
Death Date: August 22, 1942
Plot Location: Section 153, Lot 36

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Matthew’s father, John, was a sergeant during the Spanish-American War era, serving from 1899-1902 in Cuba. He returned to civilian life in Philadelphia, married, and had seven children, the oldest being born 17 years before Matthew.

The family lost their father to tuberculosis in 1923, so John never felt the pride in knowing his youngest son would also wear the sergeant’s stripes. Matthew drew strength from his two brothers and four sisters as they moved from Fitler Square to Kingsessing to the Wissahickon neighborhood. His high school years were spent at Germantown High School where he revealed in the 1940 yearbook that his hobby was building model airplanes. It was but a foretaste of things to come.

After graduation Matthew worked for a year as a clerk and went to classes at the Rising Sun Aircraft School on Roosevelt Boulevard. His interest in aviation was well-timed, as debate raged over the country’s entrance into the next World War. He enlisted July 14, 1941, having already had some exposure to the field he wanted to enter.

Following basic training, he completed an Army technical school in Illinois as a corporal. About the same time that Matthew enlisted, the Lubbock (Texas) Army Airfield was opened, and that’s where he was sent in February of 1942. The Army Flying School was exactly where he wanted to be. With a promotion to staff sergeant, he was in charge of a ground crew and was also listed as an aviation mechanic.

His mother had moved to Norwood Avenue in Chestnut Hill when she received the news in August  that Matthew died at the air station’s hospital. The cause of death was “acute pulmonary edema [excessive fluid in the lungs] from congestive heart failure.” 

The funeral was held at his brother’s house with burial here at Mount Moriah, six days after his death. His mother died of coronary artery disease three years later and was buried beside him. All six siblings enjoyed long lives but were buried elsewhere.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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