CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF MATT MINDERMAN
By Kirk Bouchie
Matt was such a positive person. He would want us to celebrate today.
To Terry, Jason, Chris and Matt’s entire family, we certainly express our sincere sympathy and thank you all for sharing Matt with us. Matt loved his family very much. Faith, Family & Friends were most important to Matt!
Matt always enjoyed the annual reunions with his brothers and sisters; Ann, Mindy, Bill, and Pat…and all of their extended family.
Speaking of family, Matt and I are fourth cousins. Matt used to tell me he had a great-grandmother with the last name of Bouchie. It was not until recently that we learned more about our common family genealogy through brother Bill. Not sure if any of you know this, but Bill is really interested in the family genealogy. Matt used to warn me to only act interested with Bill if I had plenty of time. Pretty cool stuff though. Our family has been in Vincennes since the beginning and had members fight for our country alongside George Rogers Clark.
Since hearing the news last Friday, I have been thinking about words to describe Matt. Here are some I came up with:
Patient Caring Honest Loyal Forgiving Humble
Dependable Flexible Dedicated I could go on.
Matt was the most patient person I have ever met. You know, Matt and I have some similarities. (Patience not being one of those.)
Similarities include our age, family (2 boys), LHS class of 76/77, IU School of Business, the whole Hoosiers, Alices, Cardinals thing, love of sports in general, politics (for the most part). We did not disagree much….at least Matt didn’t argue.
Certainly our similarities brought us together, but our differences made us a good team, no matter what we tackled together…from an I.U. football tailgate to another Cal Ripken World Series.
As most of you know, Matt has always served as our tournament director for all of the VCL tourneys since 1994.
As Fred McCormick and I were talking on Sunday, Matt really served as our Secretary of State. Youth sports can be a heated environment. Fred and Kirk are NOT usually the cooling influence…that was Matt’s job and he did it well…for almost 30 years at our ballpark. The patient peacemaker.
Matt was also the one that pushed…I mean pushed us into 21st century technology at Cub League. We thought him to be crazy when suggesting a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, live streaming, and for God’s sake online registration. Thanks Matt for all of this. It has certainly made David’s life much easier. We have come a long way from the two-seat deer stand press box and cassette tape player.
Sports were a huge part of Matt’s life. I will attempt to speak for him here and tell you what he would list as his favorite moments in attendance: (in no particular order)
- Victory Field – 2002 State Baseball Champions. (So proud of Chris & his Team Mates)
- 1991 Bambino World Series – Pueblo, Colorado
- 2013 College World Series with Terry
- 2018 Notre Dame Home Football Game with Jason
- 2002 NCAA Basketball Regional – IU beats Duke
- 2006 World Series Game 5 – “That’s a winner, a World Series winner.”
- 29 Ohio Valley Regionals, 6 CRWS and numerous State & local Tournaments, including the live National TV game from VCL in 2001.
- Manager of VCL’s team in the first ever Babe Ruth 10-year-old OVR held at VCL’s Red Diamond
- Busch Stadium III Opening Day (Black Monday)
- IU Football game days at Memorial Stadium. Matt loved being there…rain or shine; hot or cold; win or lose.
- Multiple IBA/Gym Rat Tournaments (some as many as 120 teams)
- Bringing Fredbird and “Clark” (Cubbie) to VCL last summer
- IU Baseball at Kaufman Field (Matt’s goal was to get back to the Press Box for opening day March 15.)
I have a story.
Remember Matt is the Secretary of State. Last Friday, he met the Big Guy upstairs. After getting comfortable, and putting in a good word for all of us, he asked the Big Guy if he could help with a couple of things. Big Guy said, “Sure, what do you need?”
“Well,” Matt said, “the folks in Indiana have been split for years on something, and it really bothers me.” At that point Matt asked, “Can you instruct Coach Knight to get back to IU? The Big Guy said, “Sure can. That’s easy.” Within 24 hours, Coach Knight was at Kaufman Field on a golf cart driven by one of Matt’s co-workers. Coach Knight said, “Glad to be back.”
Matt’s second request was IU Football’s return to the Rose Bowl. We will have to wait and see how that one turns out.
Matt had a special talent for serving folks with special needs. It stemmed from his patient and caring personality. Twelve years ago, just before he moved to Bloomington, Matt single-handedly founded our VCL Buddy Ball League. This year we will have over 30 players and that many or more buddies. Thanks Matt!
Did you ever receive a card from Matt? Of course…. He did not just sign his name like most of us do. He took the time to write a personal note of support or congrats, whatever the occasion called for.
Matt’s service to his community included many public school groups including the VCSC Board of Trustees. Matt served as the 85th Vincennes Rotary President in 1999-2000 (Y2K). There are members of Rotary and there are Rotarians…. Matt was a Rotarian. Our motto, service above self, never fit a human being more appropriately.
Since last Friday, I have heard from folks that Matt touched from all over the country (coast-to-coast). Stories from princesses, players, batboys, coaches, state, regional and national Babe Ruth friends. Matt made an impression and was loved well beyond Vincennes, Indiana.
Matt went to heaven on STL opening day, and we are celebrating his life today, IU Day…...how fitting. I have decided in my mind that God had this planned all along. He tested Matt on January 11th. From that point to last Friday, Matt showed all of us what courage, perseverance, and positive attitude can be. Matt passed the test, and God rewarded him last Friday. Too early for us, but it was God’s plan.
Now on a lighter note, big meeting today as Matt is meeting with Ron, Joe, Mike, Barry, Big Lou, Deek, Ross and Bill Sr.
I am sure that it is one hell of a reunion meeting!
Matt and I never really discussed trivial things like favorite songs or favorite colors but…
I know he loved “Here Comes the King,” “Indiana Our Indiana,” and of course “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.
I know black and gold, or blue were not his favorite colors.
So to honor Matt’s legacy of over 30 years of service to the youth of our community, state and nation, the Red Diamond at Vincennes Cub League will now forever be known as MATT MINDERMAN FIELD. Our hope is that those who knew Matt will pass on his love of the game and service to our kids, just as Matt did.
And when there is “Fire on the Red Diamond,” someone will be there to put it out just as Matt did so often.
Rest in Peace, Dear Friend, we all love you.