Evan Wesley Matthews, 28, of Navarre, Florida, died on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
Evan was born on August 16, 1994 in Claremore, Oklahoma. He resided in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma until 2001, then the family moved to Winfield, Kansas before relocating to Topeka, Kansas in 2007.
He graduated from Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, in 2014. He completed his Associates degree while serving in the United States Air Force.
Evan loved life and all things adventurous. As a young man he enjoyed camping and the outdoors with Boy Scouts, paintball, skateboarding and swimming. He played the violin and guitar. As he got older, he got more serious about swimming and PC gaming. He was a competitive swimmer with the Topeka Swim Association and swam for the Washburn Rural High School swim team, winning numerous awards. He decided that college swimming was not a path he wanted to pursue. He attended Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS, being a proud descendant of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian tribe, but decided college life was not for him. Always looking for more adventures, he enlisted in the United States Air Force on January 26, 2016, wanting to serve his country.
His plan beyond military service was to attend technical school to become a certified underwater welder.
Evan’s military service is as follows: First Sergeant Major in the Special Operations Security Forces. After basic training, Evan continued to work at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX as a combat weapons instructor. He was subsequently stationed at RAF Lakenheath, UK and assigned to 48th Security Forces Squadron as a combat weapons instructor. Sergeant Matthews completed the Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element (DAGRE) qualification course in July 2019 and was subsequently assigned to the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida on December 2, 2019, as a member of the DAGRE team.
During his time at the DAGRE branch of Hurlburt Field, Sergeant Matthews served a variety of deployments to include Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. He was awarded an Air Force Achievement Medal for his service in Iraq and Syria as well as the Air Force Commendation Medal with a “C” device for his service in Afghanistan.
Evan is survived by his parents, Darlene Kielhorn (Cecil) and Darrell Matthews; Siblings Will Matthews (Kayla), Cameron Matthews, John Kielhorn (Sara), Kris Kielhorn, Susan Belden, Heather Rusher, Paige Weitkamp and Katie Weitkamp. Grandparents Thomasine Malone (Tom), Nonia Snyder and Loren Rusher (Becky); four uncles and five aunts. He was preceded in death by his grandparents William and Tressie Matthews and John C. Kielhorn and his aunt, Deborah Rusher; plus his beloved dog friend, Beckham.
A celebration of Evan’s life will be held at 3:00 PM on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at the Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Rd, Topeka KS 66614
In lieu of flowers, we invite you to make a donation to one or both in Evan’s honor by supporting two of the things he loved so much: nature and the outdoors: Leave No Trace a and ocean life/conservation: the PADI AWARE foundation to Both offer options for donating a tribute gift.
Evan’s family invites friends and family to a 5-6:30pm round-trip reception (Evan’s Happy Hour) after service. We will meet at the Classic Bean coffee shop at 2125 SW Fairlawn Plaza Drive, Topeka, Kansas 66614.
Condolences can be sent online at www.kevinbrennanfamily.com.
Published online February 21, 2023
Published in Topeka Capital Journal