Art, music and pie honor a ‘life well-lived’
Like on an epic powder day, Sunlight Mountain Resort’s parking lots were filled to capacity on Sunday, as more than 500 friends and family members attended an outdoor memorial service for Matt Jankovsky. Matt was raised in Glenwood Springs, and died Aug. 1 after suffering a severe brain injury while riding a longboard skateboard in Broomfield, on July 21.An accomplished and prolific artist and musician, Matt was an extreme athlete, who pushed the proverbial envelope in every endeavor he took on. On Sunday, under a Colorado blue sky, people talked about Matt. They listened to a recording of Matt singing one of his hip-hop songs, “It’s a Sad Day,” and looked at an exhibit of Matt’s art. They ate shrimp tacos and pie – Matt’s favorite things to eat. And they honored an extraordinary and short life. “Some say that Matt’s life was cut short,” said family friend Dan Trautman, as he addressed the crowd from the Sunlight Lodge deck. “I disagree. Matt lived his life as only he could have lived it. It was a life well-lived.”‘A gift’
Matt’s father, Sunlight general manager Tom Jankovsky, explained what kind of kid Matt was growing up. “He liked gnarly rapids, skiing and longboarding,” Tom said. “He’d break one or two pairs of skis a season. He took a lot of trips to the hospital.””What a gift he was to all of us,” said Matt’s mother, educator Liz Meador. “As parents, we’re told to teach our children. But Matt was my teacher. He taught me a child’s innate wisdom – patience, understanding, compassion, love. Mattie taught me to embrace each person, and to not judge others.”Tom thanked Matt’s friends who set up a vigil at DenverHealth Medical Center after the accident so that he was never left alone. Many of those same friends got up to tell how much their friend meant to them. They talked about the practical jokes he’d pull, like switching entire rooms of furniture, from a living room to a bedroom. They talked about Matt motivating them to go skiing after they’d barely gone to sleep the night before.
“Whenever I called Matt and asked if I could come over and hang out, he never said ‘no,'” said Bryan Mirick. “I’ll miss you, man.” ‘Best friends’Matt’s sisters, Eva and Bridget Jankovsky, stood together and recounted experiences with their “best friend Mattie.” Bridget said when she was 4 or 5 years old, Matt and Eva led her to Defiance, a particularly steep run at Sunlight. She said Matt, then 7 or 8, encouraged her to make her first turn, and then another. Soon she was at the bottom. “Mattie said, ‘I bet you’re the youngest person ever to ski that!'” Bridget said. Eva and Bridget told other stories – about getting in trouble with Matt for jumping on (and ripping) a boat cover, about his artistic talent, and just last winter, about skiing amidst steep crevasses in France.
“Every day was an adventure with Matt,” Eva said. “We’re so proud to be Matt’s sisters. He’s an amazing person. We’ll miss his physical presence, but best friends are forever.” GoodbyeTom Jankovsky finished addressing the crowd by talking about Matt’s last day.”He died peacefully and with dignity,” Tom said. Tom said that just after the accident, the family was hopeful that Matt would be able to recover from his injury.
“At first, we encouraged him,” Tom said. “But after the doctor said for the sixth time that it looked grim …”Matt’s family was with Matt when he died. “We told him it was OK for him to pass over,” Tom said. “We told him how much we loved him, and how important he was to us. We waved goodbye. Now Matt’s off on his next adventure, not on this planet. God bless you, Matthew. We love you. Go on, warrior, into the night.” Contact Carrie Click625-3245, ext. email@example.com
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.