Matthew Elliott Harrington, 39, died last week. He was the first-born child and only son of Walt and Keran (Elliott) Harrington and the brother of Kyle C. Harrington. He was married to Kacie (Mitchell) Harrington, who he always introduced as “the love of my life.” They have three children, Colton James, 12, Ethan Brooks, 11, and Alexander Elliott, 8.
Matt, as everyone called him, was handsome, fit and hard-working, a diligent and loving father and husband, a good son. He graduated from University High School, Blackburn College and the University of Illinois, where he earned a Masters in library science. He thrived on seeing others happy, loved to laugh and “shoot the breeze” with anybody and everybody. He looked in people’s eyes when they spoke. He was patient when it mattered most, firm when it was required, supported every crazy idea his wife ever had, always encouraged his sons to dream big, work hard, and laugh, laugh, laugh. Matt told people often that he loved them. He was whip smart, charismatic, jovial, kind, gregarious, and plain decent. His biggest dream was to become a father and he never failed the job.
He was a Cubs fan in the dark decades and a diehard Illini fan. He loved baseball hats, concocting his own dry rubs, smoking a good pork butt, keeping the scorebook at little league games, reading to his boys, his two dogs, Miles and Ella, the early-morning hours before dawn when he was the only one awake and reading the news so he could complain about it later. He loved shooting pool, hunting rabbits, sunny outdoor days in the summer, a cold beer, and most of all, the rural Kentucky home place where he spent his childhood summers with his idol, Grandpa Alex.
Matt hooted and hollered during Illini basketball games and said it was the highlight of his life when his wife scored tickets to this year’s Big Ten Championship game, He watched more Disney movies than he probably would have preferred, loved mowing the lawn, and even learning to repair rusted pipes under the sink and replacing light fixtures in their Champaign home. Just before he died, he ordered his wife a surprise gift, something he often did. It was a necklace with a card reading:
“A happy life is not built upon the goal of perfection, but BALANCE.”
A light has left his home and the world. His departure was just in time for him to make it with a front-row seat to every Chicago Cubs game forever.
If you loved or liked Matt, please join his family at a visitation to honor him on Saturday, March 27, from 2-5 p.m. at Renner-Wikoff Chapel on Philo road in Urbana.
Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Matthew Elliott Harrington, please visit our floral store.