Sandy claims Franklin Twp. boy’s life
BY STACI WILSON
Hurricane Sandy claimed the life of an eight-year-old boy, Monday, Oct. 29, at his home in Franklin Twp.
At about 5:30 p.m., Matthew Stahl had gone outside to check on calves to make sure they were okay during the storm. His father’s John Stahl Jr. was retrieving groceries from a neighbor at the time, according to a police report.
Matthew was told to return to the house by his father when a strong gust of wind caused a tree to fall. It struck the boy, causing the fatal injuries, police said.
He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Matthew, son of John Jr. and Rachel Stahl, was a third grade student at Lathrop Street Elementary School, part of the Montrose Area school district.
Superintendent Michael Ognosky said grief counselors were made available Wednesday, Oct. 31, as students and teachers returned to classes after two days of storm related closings.
“This is a terrible tragedy and the thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Montrose Area School District are with the Stahl family,” Ognosky said.
The Stahl family attends the Bridgewater Baptist Church where Matthew was involved in the Voyager youth program and Sunday School programs.
Pastor Bob Kadlecik said, “The one word I would use to describe Matthew is passionate.”
“He was just an all-in kind of boy. If he wanted to do something – he was bent on doing it,” Kadlecik said. “He was physically tough but also sensitive.”
The pastor spoke of the boy’s infectious smile; great imagination; his love of Iron Man; and the four Bibles Matthew kept in his room, including the Action Bible – a comic book style Bible featuring 215 stories from the Old and New Testaments.
Kadlecik said the community has reached out to offer support to the Stahl family. A couple of men arrived at the home Monday night, cut up the tree and took it away, Kadlecik said.
“They are grieving and they are hurting but they are pulling together,” Kadlecik said.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montrose, followed by a dinner at the Bridgewater Baptist Church.
A fund in Matthew Stahl’s memory is being established at the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, for details visit: www.community-foundation.org.