Matthew Ray McKelvey
Special Olympian


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7/31/2001 Obituaries

Matthew Ray McKelvey

Matthew Ray McKelvey, 30, of Fairfield went to his heavenly home Sunday, July 29, 2001. He passed away at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.

Services were 11 a.m. today at First Baptist Church in Corsicana with the Rev. B.F. Risinger officiating. Graveside services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at New Rosemont Cemetery in Benton, Ark. with Wayne Doughit officiating.

Pallbearers were Eddy Ross, Jerry Ashcraft, Chuck Burns, Paul Cottar, Joseph Tomlinson, Charlie Carrigan, Jerry Goldner and Mike Rene. Honorary pallbearers were the Corsicana Special Olympics team.

Mr. McKelvey was born April 6, 1971 in Little Rock, Ark. He attended schools in Benton, Ark. and graduated in Fairfield. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Corsicana, Special Ministries Sunday school class and Special Ministries choir. He was a Special Olympian, and was selected as Athlete of the Year for Area 12 in Texas. He represented Texas in the Inaugural National Invitations Golf Tournament in Tennessee in 2000. He was employed at Mary Dunlap Training Center in Teague.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ervin Ray Massey and Clyde F. and Ruth Ann McKelvey, all of Benton, Ark.

Mr. McKelvey is survived by his parents, Clyde E. and Peggy C. (Massey) McKelvey of Fairfield; grandmother, Earline Massey of Fairfield; and brother and sister-in-law, Bradley E. and Shanna (Wilsford) McKelvey of Longview.

Memorials may be made to the Special Ministries Department of First Baptist Church, 510 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110.

Arrangements by Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home of Fairfield.

10/5/2001 Corsicana youth receives Special Olympics athlete of the year award


With a love for life and an exceptional attitude, Matthew (Matt) McKelvey left a legacy of goodness and proved he was a special person because of his genuine consideration for others.

For over 13 years Matt was involved in Special Olympics Texas where he competed in athletics, bowling, volleyball and golf. This year he was honored as the Grady Ramey 2001 recipient for the Male Athlete of the Year in Area 12. The area included Fort Hood, Waco, Temple, Killeen, Corsicana and other areas.

This year the September conference was held in San Antonio. Sadly Matt was not able to accept the honor due to an illness from which he passed away from on July 29.

One of Matt's favorite accomplishments was in October 2000 when he was selected to represent Texas in the Inaugural Innovational Golf Tournament in Tennessee. He competed with Special Olympic golfers from all over the nation and placed fourth in the tournament.

He was also chosen in 2001 to compete again in the Professional Golf Association but could not attend because of his illness.

When he was given the special honor this year his mother and father Peggy and Clyde accepted the award on his behalf.

While in Special Olympics teammates and coaches described him as a kind individual who always gave 110 percent.

"A lot of people would have gotten down in his situation, but he was always up and kept a good attitude," said Jerry Ashcraft, friend and Matt's Sunday school teacher at First Baptist.

When Matt competed he put his heart into it. He had won numerous gold medals in track, field events, bowling and golf. He went to Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Waco and Corsicana.

In an excerpt from a letter sent to Special Olympics Texas by his parents they said, "Matt loved the competition that Special Olympics offered, but more than that he loved the opportunity to be part of a team."

They said the interaction between the athletes, coaches and volunteers gave him a feeling of being a part of something special. He could accept winning with a sincere sense of gratitude and humility, but he also accepted not winning with dignity and could be happy for the winner.

The McKelveys stated that by some measures Matt was not a fast runner, but he was there trying and he ran as fast as he could.

Some may not have considered him a great bowler, but he tried. The same could be said for his golf game but in each thing he tried, he did it with enthusiasm and had fun.

Pam Burns, of First Baptist Special Ministries, said Matt made friends easily.

"He loved the pretty girls and always found them along the way to talk to," she said. "He was jolly and happy-go-lucky."

Even though faced with adverse circumstances Matt never gave up. Even when he battled cancer he did it with his usual good attitude.

"He was a fighter until the very end," Ashcraft said. "I was touched by his life."

Many spoke of Matt with affection and considered him to be a buddy and friend.

"He never walked up to anybody without reaching his hand out to shake hands with people," Burns said.

Burns said she was pleased that Matt had accepted Christ and made a profession of his faith. He was also baptized before he passed away.

His parents said Matt had his gold medals for winning in the Special Olympics and he cherished them, but the real gold was in his heart.


Barbara Forman may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

4/14/2002 GOING FOR THE GOLD: Late Olympian McKelvey has award named in his honor


All anyone had to do was look at the faces of those participating or volunteering in the Corsicana Special Olympics and it became obvious you were in the right place.

Saturday Tiger Field came alive as five torchbearers took their places to start the David Hale Special Olympics track meet.

As the torchbearers led the way, fellow Olympians followed. Passing by the crowd some waved their hands, others held their caps high in the air. All were smiling and had a sense of pride and determination about them.

Whether they rolled in wheelchairs, walked or leaned on someone for assistance the goal was the same. They were there to finish the race.

It was day for celebration and remembering.

This year a special presentation in honor of Matt McKelvey was given. He was a fellow Olympian and died last year after battling cancer.

Matt was selected as the Area 12 Male Athlete Of The Year in March 2001. He had competed with other candidates all over Texas.

"Winning for the whole state of Texas was a big deal," his mother Peggy said. "Special Olympics meant so much to Matt because it gave him an opportunity to meet friends. He was a happy-go-lucky guy. He came out here to really have fun and he did."

In addition to the fun, Peggy said her son was given the opportunity to show what he was made of.

"He wasn't the fastest runner, but he got to show what he could do," she said.

The Matt McKelvey Spirit Award was given to Lonnie Garcia for this year's event. Peggy said Matt and Lonnie had been "good friends, the best of friends" for a long time.

As Garcia accepted his award the McKelveys were nearby to congratulate and hug him. Together they shared tears of joy and remembered their son and friend.

Once the races began the cheers and support from several different volunteers could be heard around the field.

Soon as the Special Olympians began to get close to the finish line, Mac McKelvey, Matt's father, walked around a table where the medals to be awarded laid.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, he looked down at the medals and taking a deep breath he walked over and asked, "Could I help hand out the awards?"

It was a true example of all the love, concern and support for others that makes Special Olympics what it is. Many were there to assist wherever they could even though they didn't have a family member in the competition.

Jason White, tennis coach for Corsicana High School, was there to start the races for the day of events. Dr. David Hale, who was master of ceremonies, was in true form with his light-hearted humor and genuine compassion for the competitors.

"If the Special Olympics doesn't stir your heart, you don't have a heart," Hale said.

Before the competition began volunteers and parents could be heard sharing stories of last year's event and proud of accomplishments that had been made since.

The Special Olympics is more than competition, it is a family that supports each other in every capacity. All that is required is the desire to help and a sense of compassion.

The faces and comments of several CHS students who helped during the day said it all. It was evident they had discovered what real determination and giving to others was all about in a unique way. Some had volunteered in previous years, others were awed by their first experience of working with Special Olympics and receiving so much in return.

Because of special presence that the Matt McKelvey Award gave and the winning-spirit of continuing team members, it was a day to be remembered.


Barbara Forman may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

5/27/2002 Late Special Olympian McKelvey honored in Arlington

From Staff Reports

ARLINGTON -- Special Olympics Texas athletes from Corsicana paid a special tribute to one of their teammates at the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies Friday night in Arlington. Clad in yellow, black and white shirts, the team's athletes and coaches remembered Matthew McKelvey by sporting his picture on their left sleeves. Matt died of cancer in July 2001.

Throughout his 15-year involvement with Special Olympics Texas, McKelvey became known for his trademark kindness, commitment to quality and tremendous energy -- for those reasons and many more Matt was recognized posthumously as the Grady Ramey Male Athlete of the Year and the Heart of Texas Athlete of the Year in 2001. His parents, Clyde and Peggy McKelvey, accepted his Athlete of the Year award last September in San Antonio.

"Matt was a true Special Olympian," said Corsicana coach Kay Andrews. "He had such a sweet spirit. His experiences with Special Olympics meant so much to him -- he loved meeting new people and making new friends."

As a testament to the friendships McKelvey cherished, the Corsicana team visited him at Baylor Hospital in Dallas after last year's Summer Games. David Zinc, McKelvey's teammate, brought Matt a medal from Summer Games, hoping it would help him feel better.

"Matt loved Special Olympics," said McKelvey's mother Peggy McKelvey. "He would be so happy that everyone is here today because he was here to have fun. We came back this year because we missed the hugs. You have to be a parent of one of these athletes to understand what it means to miss the hugs."

McKelvey was too ill to stay at competition last year in Killeen. He was sad to go home, but his mood was lifted when he met cheerleaders from the Denver Broncos at a roadside IHOP. Known for his charm with the ladies, McKelvey scored autographed pictures of the cheerleaders and proceeded home with the usual smile on his face.

"Matt was my spirit," said coach Eddie Ross. "He had such a big heart."

McKelvey's skills on the golf course were very good -- he and his father represented Special Olympics Texas at the 2000 National Golf Tournament in Tennessee. He enjoyed bowling, track and field, and he embraced and embodied the spirit of Special Olympics.

Special Olympics Texas is a privately funded non-profit organization providing year-round sports training and athletic competition to over 27,000 children and adults with mental retardation in the Lone Star State. Through Special Olympics, greatness can be achieved far beyond the field of competition, as participation enhances self-esteem, promotes independence, strengthens families and facilitates social competence, while encouraging fitness.

Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their families and community. || Articles Index

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