Mathew “Matt” Karpan

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Mathew “Matt” Karpan was born on March 21, 1944, to John Sr. and Sarah “Babe” Karpan (Laws) in Des Moines, Iowa. He entered into eternal life on March 29, 2015.  Matt was known for his ferocity of spirit and even amazed many in the medical community, with his will to fight, against impossible odds throughout his journey.  Through this experience, Matt has taught many that living with cancer requires one to live with an attitude. An attitude to never give up, no matter what the odds are.

Matt graduated high school in 1962 from Melcher-Dallas, Iowa. He then went on to receive his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Northwest Missouri State University. A great passion of Matt’s life was teaching. He started his career teaching various business classes in Elkader, Iowa. He then left teaching to pursue a career in pharmaceutical sales with SmithKline and from there went to Kann Manufacturing in Guttenberg, Iowa.  Not only did he sell and market convertible hopper trailers, he also designed Kann’s first garbage recycling trailer. Although he was very passionate about sales and marketing, his heart never left teaching. After leaving Kann Manufacturing, he started his own business as well as returning to teaching as a substitute teacher in Des Moines and Ankeny, Iowa.   

Matt married Susan K. Comer in 1966. They were married for 19 years and raised their three daughters, Nikki, Natalie and Amber, in Elkader, Iowa. His daughters were his world. Matt had a special talent creating unique childhood memories for his daughters. He went above and beyond from building the girls a treehouse, buying them a horse, to taking them on numerous vacations to various locations. He instilled great qualities in his daughters; teaching them to always be respectful to the less fortunate, to be compassionate, and to make good choices – always remembering the power of the word “no.” He also taught them to always have the mind of a garden, “Pull the weeds as they grow and tend to it.” With this mindset, he felt that his girls would always stay on the “right road.”  From their birth until his death, when his daughters were in pain or burdened by something, Matt would hug them close and say, “Give it all to me, I can handle it.” He had an innate ability to paint the silver lining for his daughters and others during times of adversity. In addition to being a loving and caring father, Matt was also a wonderful grandfather.

Matt was a nature lover. He especially loved spring and watching everything come to life.  He took great pleasure in planting a variety of trees and gardens.  He instilled this appreciation of nature and the little things in life, in his daughters and his grandchildren.   

Matt will be missed by his daughters: Nikki (Mark) Jacobs and their children, Haley, Alexis and Samuel, of Ankeny; Natalie Karpan of Milwaukee, WI; Amber Becker and her children, Daynan Anthony and Chloe Onica, of Iowa City; siblings: Glenda (Don) DeCamp of Redfield, IA, John (Nancy) Karpan of Denver, CO, Kristy (Ralph) Lyons of Kirksville, MO, and Bob (Kim) Karpan Sr. of Dallas, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John Sr. and Sarah “Babe” Karpan (Laws).

A Catholic funeral liturgy was held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 3, 2015 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Melcher-Dallas. Family received friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2015, with a Wake Service at 4 p.m. at Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Melcher-Dallas. Interment was in Dallas Cemetery. 

Memorials may be made to Matt’s family. Condolences may be shared at

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