AVON – Athletes and fans are remembering the late Matthew White, a driver who became a much-loved supporter of Avon High athletics. White, 44, passed away on February 25 after a brief illness. But he made an impact.
White was a familiar face at Avon High swim meetings, wrestling matches and soccer games. As the bus driver who safely drove the athletes to and from their events, he saw plenty of Falcon contests and he became a big fan.
“Matt was special, “ Avon High swimming coach Diana Cesaro said. “He cheered the kids on and was truly part of the team. From the outpouring of notes and donations I’ve received, it’s clear that Matt was very much loved and respected.”
Coaches, athletes and parents felt compelled to honor him in a special way and, earlier this month, they got the chance.
With money donated by families of athletes and the Avon High School PTO and Booster Club, a bench was purchased in Matt’s memory. It will be installed adjacent to the athletics bus lane at the high school – a perfect spot for students to sit and rest while waiting for their ride home.
The memorial in the Avon High auditorium was led by Pastor Tim Ponzani and attended by dozens of friends, colleagues and relatives of White. Speakers included Cesaro, superintendent Gary Mala, assistant superintendent John Spang and others.
Many remarked on how Matt’s success was measured not in his job title, but in the professional way he did his job and, most importantly, the wonderful way he made others feel.
After the ceremony, participants gathered outside in front of the school athletics entrance for the dedication of the bench, inscribed with Matt’s name. His two children, Daniel, 7, and Sarah, 5, promptly sat on the bench.