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Matt Camp — 1971-2009

Watch 'Jesus Calms The Storm' - Sermon Preached by Matt Camp in August 2009


Because God first loved Matt, Matt loved God. And Matt loved people. We always felt his love for us. If you were ever in Matt Camp's presence, you felt the love.

We don't understand right now why he has been taken from us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his grieving family. May God's love surround them. May His "peace that passeth all understanding" envelope them.

Brother Matt Camp went to be with his Lord at about 10 this morning, for we know that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."

We see through a glass darkly, but Matt now sees the Lord face to face. We will all "in the wink of an eye" experience what he has.

May we all be as ready on that day as Matt was on this one. His eternal spirit has now transcended his mortal body, which fought the good fight of faith and finished the course through this troubled world. He has now claimed the crown of victory through His Lord and Savior.

One of my favorite verses that strengthens me in my walk as I approach the day of my own departure is "to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

In conclusion, I want to emphasize the word LOVE. In my view, due to my own brush with death in an accident nearly six years ago, it is ALL we can take with us from this life. This made sense to me at the time because I recalled from Scripture that "God is love." When you go into the presence of God, then, you enter a realm of PURE LOVE and all that is not of LOVE is burned away.

Some of us are better at showing our love for humanity than others. I'm not as good at it as Big Matt was, I don't think. But I'll always remember that I felt his love for me (as I know so many others did) and will try to emulate him as he so well emulated Our Lord in my remaining days.



From the Longview News-Journal:

Buckeye radio host dies at 38

From KLTV Channel 7:

"The voice of the Buckeyes"

From The Gilmer Mirror:

Matt Camp battles to the end

Gilmer to say goodbye to fallen young leader Sunday at 2 p.m.


Matthew Carroll (Matt) Camp, Gilmer civic leader, banker, school board member and Internet play-by-play announcer for Gilmer High School football games, died peacefully at his home Thursday morning after a 3-year battle with cancer. He was 38.

Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Gilmer with Jeff Rash, church pastor Rev. Todd Kaunitz, former FBC pastor Dr. David L. Jenkins and the Rev. Lee Tyson officiating.

Because of the expected overflow crowd, Rash said, the service will be telecast in the church’s large fellowship hall for those who cannot be seated in the church sanctuary. Camp, a deacon at First Baptist, had surrendered to the ministry only weeks before his death, preaching his first sermon at the church.

Burial will be in Little Mound Cemetery in rural Upshur County. Visitation is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday (today) at Croley Funeral Home.

Camp, a Gilmer native and a vice president of Gilmer National Bank, had fiercely battled his cancer, which began as melanoma before spreading to his lymph nodes. After they were removed, the malignancy spread to his lungs and liver, according to his long-time close friend and fellow school trustee, Rash.

Only Tuesday night, Camp was returned home from a Tulsa, Okla., hospital after his condition had deteriorated rapidly from Sunday onward, said Rash. After arriving here late that evening, the stricken banker was able to say goodbye to his only living child, his 9-year-old son Cade, Rash said.

Camp slipped into a coma two hours before dying about 10 a.m. Thursday, surrounded by his family, friends and a hospice nurse who were jointly singing Amazing Grace, said Rash, who was present.

Only 13 days earlier, on Sept. 11, Camp climbed steep stands at a Texarkana football stadium to make his last online broadcast of a Gilmer Buckeyes game, a 35-17 come-from-behind Gilmer victory over host Liberty-Eylau.

With his team trailing 10-9 at halftime, Gilmer Coach Jeff Traylor had cited Camp’s gallant fight against his lethal disease to inspire the Buckeyes to a winning second-half comeback. Camp also had broadcast Gilmer’s season-opening 42-14 victory over Jasper at Nacogdoches on Aug. 28, but missed the Buckeyes’ two other games this season before his death.

For some time, Camp underwent periodic treatment at the famed M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When that hospital said it could do no more for him, he went to Tulsa two days after the Liberty-Eylau game and underwent medical tests last week while staying in a motel, according to Rash.

Last Saturday, “he was fine,” but began feeling ill Sunday and was admitted to the hospital, Rash said. On Monday, Rash and five other friends of Camp’s from Gilmer went to bring the dying community leader home to bid his young son goodbye.

According to Rash, Camp told Cade he was proud of him and that he “didn’t care whether he wins or loses as long as he always does his best.” Matt Camp also told his son—who he had baptized only four weeks earlier—that “it’s so important to love people,” Rash said.

Coach Traylor gave young Cade his first quarterbacking lesson Thursday, and the boy was scheduled to call the coin toss at the Gilmer-Daingerfield game between two No. 1-ranked teams here last night (Friday), said Rash.

Rash is public address announcer for Gilmer home football games, and Matt Camp, a former Buckeye quarterback, would normally have done the play-by-play over the Internet with color commentary from his announcing partner, Todd Robison.

As of this month, he had been employed at Gilmer National Bank for 13 years.

Camp was the only child of retired longtime Gilmer Elementary School Principal Harmon (Pat) Camp and his wife, Beth. In addition to Cade, Matt Camp and his wife, Deidra Long Camp, had a son, Andrew Hope Camp, who was stillborn about five years ago.

Rash noted that he, Matt Camp, and Robison were part of a 6-man group of lifelong friends that had started school together in Gilmer, graduated here together; and who had “all fought like tigers to stay right here (in Gilmer) together,” turning down jobs elsewhere. The other friends are Mark Skinner, Joe Dodd and Greg Laney.

Rash said Friday the group wanted to rear their children together. He noted Camp had baptized Rash’s daughter, Brinkley Rash, at the time the banker baptized Cade.

“We’ve literally known each other since 1975 or 1976,” Rash said of the group. “We’ve done everything together. We went to school together. We played ball together...We all were in each other’s weddings.

“We were there for the firstborn of each of our children....Every Christmas, we’re together like a band of thieves or something, band of brothers,” he said. The group also enjoyed cookouts at each other’s homes, and “our kids all think we’re brothers,” so they call their fathers’ friends uncle, Rash added.

“And now everywhere you look, there’s going to be a lot of empty seats to fill because Matt did so much stuff.”

Robison and Skinner, who sat with Rash and Camp in the press box at Buckeye games, were among those present when Camp died Thursday morning. The death had such an impact on the community that KLTV (Channel 7) in Tyler came to do a story on the late banker.

Rash said that facing imminent death, Camp “had a lot of wisdom to impart...He knew what priorities mattered and which ones didn’t.”

“He was the most unselfish and loving person I ever met,” and wouldn’t speak ill of anyone, Camp’s friend added. Rash added that he had witnessed Camp’s life for 33 years, and that he never strayed from his Christian faith.

Rash recalled that the banker, Diedra, and Cade had met Texas Rangers baseball player Josh Hamilton, Cade’s hero who had overcome a drug problem and authored a book.

When they gathered at The Ballpark in Arlington, Hamilton signed a bat and glove, presented them to Cade, and gave the family copies of his book, according to Rash.

Hamilton then asked Matt who his favorite baseball player was. When Camp said Nolan Ryan, Hamilton, who’d been tipped off to that fact, produced a baseball autographed by the former great major league pitcher.

According to Rash, Camp asked Hamilton, “Josh, can we pray for you?” and Hamilton replied, “You sure can.” Photographs were taken of the group prayer.

Visitation will be Saturday, Sept. 26, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Croley Funeral Home in Gilmer. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, at the First Baptist Church of Gilmer.

The family requests memorials be made to Matt’s House, c/o Kinsman Foundation, 219 W. Butler, Gilmer, Texas 75644 , or Matt Camp Ball Park Fund, c/o Gilmer National Bank, P.O. Box 460, Gilmer, TX 75644.

Courtesy Photo
CADE CAMP, 9-year-old son of Gilmer Buckeyes broadcaster Matt Camp, who passed away last Thursday morning at the age of 38 after a courageous battle against cancer, has just called the coin toss for Gilmer before last Friday night’s game here between the Buckeyes and Daingerfield. Gilmer won the toss and, of course, elected to receive. Standing next to young Camp is Gilmer QB Darian “Stump” Godfrey, one of the team’s captains, who said the team is playing every game for his father in order to honor him. The Buckeyes were honorary pallbearers at Matt Camp’s funeral Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27, which filled the First Baptist Church in downtown Gilmer to capacity. Hundreds more watched the service on a big-screen TV in another nearby church building.


Mary Ann said…
A well penned memorial. Thanks. Mary Ann
Melvin Dodd said…
This is a fitting post for one of the finest men any of us have ever known. I'm grateful that my son Joe had the privilege of being one of Matt's best friends.
Melba Jenkins said…
A very beautiful and fitting tribute to a fine young man. Thanks, Russ.

Melba Jenkins
Imaniv said…
I was in the Generic Viagra's store when I watched the news about Matt Camp, I Think that it was so terrible and awful to hid family and friends.

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