Words. There are no words. There is sadness. There is an ache in all of our hearts. There is an empty space that used to be filled with a man who was a son, brother, husband, father, son-in-law, nephew, teacher, friend, and so many other things. To say he will be missed is a tremendous understatement. The world just got a little dimmer. April 29, 2020, Matthew Allen Knewtson passed away. He looked very peaceful and, we all agreed, had a smirk on his face. He was at home with his wife, Stephanie, and three sons, David, Kevin, and Bryan, close to him.
Our job as citizens of the world is to help others. We touch the souls of so many people during our relatively short time on the planet. Matt made a difference. He was an unbelievably talented artist, teacher, mentor, friend, loving father, husband, son, and brother. Matt would do anything for his students. He would spend entire nights in the theatre helping his students. He always knew what to say, and no matter how tired or stressed he was, if you walked into his office or the theatre and asked for his help, he’d sit down and help you through it. Matt was one of the best and the world has many artists that are better people for knowing him.
Matthew was born on October 23, 1965, in Columbus, Kansas. He is the son of Dean and Mary Alice (Jordan) Knewtson. Matt is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Alice Knewtson. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie Knewtson, three sons; David Knewtson (Courtney) of Kalamazoo, Kevin Knewtson of Kalamazoo, and Bryan Knewtson of Forest Park, Il.; his father, Dean Knewtson; two brothers, Mike Knewtson of Houston, TX, and Mark Knewtson of Pittsburgh, PA; five sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, three nieces, six nephews, countless aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Matt attended Baldwin City High School in Baldwin City, Kansas until his family moved to Lyndon, Kansas where he graduated from Lyndon High School in 1984. Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. Baker is where Matt met the woman he would marry just a week after graduating, Stephanie (Blake) Knewtson on May 28, 1988. He went on to earn his Master’s of Fine Art in Technical Theatre, Lighting, and Sound Design from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. During his time as a student at UMKC, Matt and Stephanie would welcome two sons, M. David Knewtson, and Kevin Knewtson. After graduating the family moved to Kalamazoo Michigan where Matt began a career in Technical Theatre, Lighting, and Sound Design at Western Michigan University. Matt was a professor in the College of Fine Arts educating and mentoring many students during his 29 years there. Matt and Stephanie welcomed their third son, Bryan Knewtson very shortly after moving to Kalamazoo.
At a later date, when social distancing precautions are eased, we will have a gathering to celebrate his life. We will do that somewhere in the Gilmore Theatre Complex. (When we gather, you might want to be prepared to learn all the lyrics to American Pie, know the significance of the number 42, and wear a plaid shirt.)
When he started working at WMU the Gilmore Theatre Complex was still in the design stage. He was able to collaborate with his colleagues to design the best building possible. So much of his life centered around the art created there, he collaborated on, and both challenged and entertained so many people over the years. He educated and mentored so many students over the years. The world has many working artists because of his tutelage. In his technical positions over the years, the heaviest part the job started about two weeks before the opening of a show, the work started after a rehearsal, and the development of the set, the lights, and the sounds that make a show complete went into the wee tiny hours of the morning. Then he would get right back up in the morning and start the whole process again.
When he was home, he instantly converted into father, husband, and chief baby rocker for the children
that needed a little extra care. There were those occasions when only he could swoop in and rock both himself and the baby to sleep. He would bring calm to the house. When it seemed the walls were closing in, he would step in and bring things under control; enough that Stephanie could keep moving.
You can see more about Matt’s life and share your own memories at https://www.facebook.com/Ponderings-and-Stories-with-Matthew-Knewtson-105942457693908/posts/ or at
https://memorials.simplycremationservice.com/matthew-knewtson/4201769/obituary.php (please click the memory wall tab to leave a message.)
The Matthew Knewtson Memorial Scholarship Fund has been created to be used to support a student with an emergency financial need that threatens their ability to continue their education. This was a cause very close to Matt’s heart. Donations to this fund can be sent to.
1. Online to https://secure.wmualumni.org/s/give . Please mark the box at the bottom to
designate it as a memorial for Matthew Knewtson.
2. WMU Department of Theatre, 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo MI 49008
He has always been the foundation of our family. Our rock. Our safe place. The man who loved unconditionally and without limits. He will live in our hearts forever. Maybe someday our souls will meet again.
Sweet dreams Matthew. We love you as do so many others outside our family. Godspeed to you my friend. You will be missed completely.