Matt Labbe, 1970-2007

Perusing yesterday’s Concord Monitor yielded some unfortunate news: One of my few fellow physics majors at the University of Vermont in the early 1990s died in a motor vehicle accident in California a week and a half ago.
I didn’t know Matt all that well, though we hung out a little bit away from classes. Our loose bond was a natural consequence of our being among only a small handful of students in UVM’s class of 1992 who were pursuing physics degrees — as I recall, fewer than 10 out of a total of close to 2,000 in the College of Arts and Sciences — and discovering that we were from the same hometown, though we went to different high schools. (Matt would actually receive his bachelor’s in 1993.)
One whimsical detail about Matt that’s jumped into my mind unbidden from time to time over the past decade and a half is that he owned several large, brightly colored tropical fish (don’t ask me what kind; they all look like groupers to my ignorant eye). I’m glad that in recent years the Monitor has relaxed its formerly stringent policy about excluding what it deemed an excess of personal details in its obituaries, because whoever submitted Matt’s did an excellent job of painting him as the kind and colorful character I remember.
As the obituary notes, a friend of Matt’s has started a Web site for the purpose of exchanging messages and memories, although at the time of this writing it includes only a picture of Matt astride his motorcycle.

  1. #1 by Josh Brooks on August 1, 2007 - 1:29 am

    I was riding with Matt on April 7th, 2007…and have posted pics in dedication to him up on my personal website;
    He was only a few days younger than me, a very good dude, and will be missed.

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