Matt Farrell Memorial Fund
Mel (Mary Ellen ) Farrell was a beloved friend of mine. I mourned deeply when we lost her to brain cancer last fall, as so many others did. I knew how much she adored her two children, Matt and DeDe. I loved to watch her face light up when she talked about them. The last time I sat with her, a few weeks before her death, she smiled happily as she updated me on their lives.
On Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 2:30 in the morning, Mel's beloved son Matthew was shot dead by his father. Despite the devastating grief we all feel, what concerns me the most right now, as I think it does for anyone who loved Mel, or Matt, is his sister DeDe.
DeDe recently relocated to Seattle with her partner Katy, and started a new job. She has no health insurance. She can ill afford the expenses that are looming ahead of her.
I imagine many of you, like myself, feel helpless in the face of this tragedy. The only thing most of us are able to do is support her financially. She needs money to cover Matt's funeral expenses, the expenses associated with dealing with his estate and the travel and time that will incur. She wants to move ahead with counseling to help her get through this, and without health insurance that isn't cheap. I know we all deal with a certain level of tragedy in our lives but this is a nightmare beyond most of our imaginations, and she needs us.
I know I sound grim right now, but at a future time, when DeDe is ready and able, she will plan a memorial for Matt. At that point, we can truly celebrate Matt's incredible generosity of spirit, talent, humor, sweetness and friendship. Right now we need to work to get there. We need to show DeDe our love for Matt, for Mel, and for her. We must do this in their honor.
If you are able, please donate and share this. I thank you with all my heart.
DeDe at Bacaro with Matt last fall
All funds raised (less Go Fund Me fees) will go to DeDe Farrell to be used at her discretion. This will include funeral, travel, personal, healthcare, memorial, and living expenses. For those of you who would prefer not to donate through this site, checks can be dropped off, or sent to, the Matthew and DeDe Farrell Fund c/o Busey Bank, 100 W. University, Champaign, IL, 61820. There are no fees associated with the Busey account and all funds will go to DeDe to be used as she needs.
Matthew "Little Matt" Farrell, 29, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, at Carle Foundation Hospital from a single gunshot wound to the chest, delivered by the hands of his own father.
Matt was born on Aug. 3, 1986, at Carle Foundation Hospital to Mary Ellen and David G. Farrell of Urbana. He is survived by his sister, DeDe Farrell and her partner Katy Meehan of Seattle, Wash.; his uncle, Matt Mangas of Cape Coral, Fla.; his Aunt Sally Strand of Hampton Bays, N.Y.; his uncle and aunt, Jeff and Carrie Farrell of Carlsbad, Calif.; and a small handful of cousins.
He was preceded in death by three grandparents and his mother, Mary Ellen "Mel" Farrell, who tragically passed away from brain cancer just nine months ago, at the age of 64.
Born, raised, and taken from the same house on Oregon Street, Matt made fast and strong friends with many. He made more than a handful of best friends while attending Leal Elementary School, Urbana Middle and High Schools. He received an Associates in Arts from Parkland College, studying fine and graphic arts. He then went on to work as a graphic designer for McKenzie Wagner Inc. before striking out on his own. Matthew Farrell Creative was the name of his personal business, housed in the Colab in Urbana. He had started his company only a month or so before his mother fell ill last year. Recently his business was booming and he was finally coming into his own and enjoying his successes.
No one can dispute the irony that Matt was shot in his very best asset, his heart. Matt's reach in this community was just as far as his mother, Mel's. They were two peas in a pod, committed to being an integral part of the Champaign-Urbana scene, something they both seem to have accomplished given the overwhelming outpouring of support for both.
Irony stacked on irony was the posthumous discovery of a nearly entirely blocked coronary artery in his heart. This will shock most who knew him because Matt was also known for his fitness: riding his bike for transportation, skate boarding around town and at parks, running marathons, snowboarding, lifting weights, boating, you name it. This information is incongruous to his outward appearance and is really of no consolation, because it does not change the fact that he was forcefully removed from this Earth.
Positive adjectives abound when people describe Matt's sensibilities, personality and character. Matt was a charming, handsome, charismatic, creative, passionate, caring soul and a fun-loving extrovert. However, many have also seen another side of Matt that was emotional and sensitive, with a tender spirit. So now we must ALL carry a part of Matt in our own hearts to keep that spirit alive and coursing.
Please express your thoughts and share your stories on his Facebook page, or at the Sipyard memorial wall next to his Colab office space in downtown Urbana.
At a later date, Matt and his mother will be remembered with a memorial, and have their ashes sealed, together, in a place in C-U that people may come to pay their respects.
A message from DeDe today:
Good morning, All. This is the most brutal experience I could possibly fathom, and it doesn't end with my brother's death. This issue will continue for me in the coming days, weeks, and months, let alone the years of processing and healing. I am extremely busy right now dealing with the ins and outs of the situation. I am immensely grateful for the tsunami of support, memorials, tributes, photos, and personal accounts. It shatters me that my hometown is a place of such trauma and sorrow for me now. The sheer amount of love I am feeling from family, friends, and acquaintances of both my mother and brother is helping to ease this feeling. An obituary for Matt will run in Sundays News Gazette. A formal visitation was not possible and Matt will be cremated. At a later time, it is my wish to have Matthew and Mary Ellen 'Mel's ashes buried together in a plot in CU, so that those who wish to mourn them may have a space to do so, including myself. In the meantime, party it up for Matt this weekend, take tons of pics and keep posting and remembering. A special thanks to those who took in Matt and protected him when he felt emotionally unsafe. He was a very tender soul, and a deeply wounded boy who had just lost his mommy. It was beyond unfair to watch him go thru that, and then to have him violently ripped from the world. I am mustering every ounce of my energy to fight for him. Thank you all, again. I will never be able to thank you enough.