Matthew Smith, killed in Quinton gas well explosion, honored at memorial service

MCALESTER -- It has been one week since Matthew Smith was identified as one of the five victims in a gas well explosion in Quinton, Okla. On Tuesday, his family and friends gathered for a memorial service.

Loved ones from near and far gathered in Matthew’s hometown of McAlester to cherish the time they once had together. 

“It kills me that my little boy isn’t going to get to see his dad,” Julie Smith, wife of Matthew said. “The way that he loved him, because it was amazing. Truly amazing.”

The tragedy for many is still hard to comprehend. A widow grieved as others, who gathered at the McAlester Expo Center, shared her pain. 

“How can this be real,” CJ Norvell, a family friend said. “How can this be the life we are in… without Matthew.”

 Matthew’s family and friends came together under an unfortunate circumstance. 

“Never in a million years would I think I would be standing in front of you all today,” Julie said to the congregation.

A gas well explosion in Quinton claimed the lives of five men. Matthew was 29 years old. 

“He has so much to share and so much more to do,” Norvell said.

He is described as a man who lived for his family, his wife and 16-month-old baby boy, Rhett.

“He was so proud,” Julie said. “He was proud to have a house. Proud to have his wife and proud of that little boy.” 

Their time together, cut short, but faith will get them through. 

“Matthew’s family is made out of the same stuff Matthew is made of,” Norvell said. “They’re tough. They will put one foot in front of the other.”

Those steps brought them before their family and friends Tuesday to celebrate a man who loved to hunt and fish. 

“He was such a kind gentle man,” Julie said. “He was my Matthew. He was my one and only.”

His family said he was a man who’s death had purpose. A purpose to remind others about the importance of family. 

“When it comes down to the very end what have you left behind,” Norvell said. 

Matthew’s family shared a message they hope others take to heart. 

“Go home,” Julie said. “You hold that family of yours tight. You tell them every day that you love them. You put away your differences.”

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