Matthew Norton Sherman was born on March 28th, 1966 to Joseph and Ann (Norton) Sherman. He was the youngest of six children. Matt, as he was known to his family and friends, was raised in the small community of Minster Ohio. His childhood was blessed with plenty of neighbor kids to enjoy time with and play. While growing up, he worked in the family-owned drug store that was initially started by his grandfather.
Through his high school days, Matt had grown to become friendly with everyone and ultimately was voted “Most Popular” upon graduation in 1984. Some of his popularity was due to his athleticism, enjoying football and track. He was Co-Captain of these sports his senior year. He also was busy working with the school yearbook staff as one of the photographers. When he wasn’t competing in sports, he was supporting his schoolmates and friends in their endeavors. Matt was always surrounded by people. He was a great friend, someone who loved people and loved life.
Following his graduation from high school, Matt attended Miami University (OH). He became a member of the Greek community by joining Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and held a leadership position. Matt quickly added to his circle of friends and took on new sports in hockey and cycling. On his graduation day in May 1988, with a business degree in hand, he threw his graduation cap with the peace sign taped to the top, ready to venture off to the next step in his life’s journey.
After a short summer of celebration events and going-away parties, Matt departed for his Peace Corps location in Honduras in June of 1988. For three months he was stationed in Tegucigalpa, where he learned the Spanish language and culture and prepared for his eventual two year assignment. It was a tenuous time in Honduras, nearing the end of the Nicaraguan Civil War, in which the United States set up base in Honduras to assist the right-wing Contra effort against the Sandinista Government of Nicaragua.
In early August, Matt spent a week at his pending assignment in Cuyamel, an area of 2000 people off of the north coast, with no phone service and mail delivery only twice a week. Given the mountainous terrain, Matt was two hours by bus to the nearest larger city and five hours to San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital. As a “Business and Production” Peace Corp Volunteer, Matt would work with the Cocoa Cooperative. His job was to set up cocoa markets and work on exporting. He had his sights on The Hershey Company, Inc.
On September 8th, upon hearing of the death of his grandmother, Matt had been making arrangements to head back to the U.S. for the funeral services. In the evening, on the last day of training in Tegucigalpa, a tragic accident occurred. A Honduran security guard at the El Rincon Peace Corps Training Center unmistakably had taken Matt for an intruder in an area of heavy guerrilla activity. He was shot several times. Matthew Norton Sherman was the 201st Peace Corps Volunteer to die in service.
Matt’s reasons for joining the Peace Corps reflected the way he was raised by his parents and the community of Minster. They were not complicated reasons, just a reflection of Matt. His intent to join a worldwide force of peaceful intervention was not surprising, as putting others before himself was a habit. Matt made the most of the time God had given him, inspiring others to do the same. He believed in his ability to make a difference in the lives of other people.
“I believe that it’s important for neighbors
to help each other, no matter the distance.
If we spent more time trying to help
each other instead of ourselves,
this world might be a better place.”
Matthew Norton Sherman
Peace Corps Volunteer
Matt did, indeed, make this world a better place.
What a great soul was taken from us! He set the bar high on how to live life!
Honduras was a wonderful place to work for PCV’s. The people are friendly and hard working. It saddens me Matt was taken from us so soon.
Peace and Love to his friends and family.
RPCV Honduras 80-82
I was finishing my Peace Corps service in Honduras, but had never met Matt. I was trained a few years prior at the same Peace Corps training center. I remember hearing of the shocking news of matt’s death. Another Peace Corps Volunteer designed a pocket calendar with a memorial on it dedicated to Matt to help his fellow trainees morn his loss. The calendar was printed by a good Honduran neighbor of my who I continue to call my Honduran father.
Peace Matt, thank you for your service
I was a year ahead of Matt at Miami of Ohio and a brother at Phi Kappa Tau. I joined the Peace Corps and ended up in Honduras as well. Matt wrote to me that he was coming to Honduras and we saw each other several times in Tegucigalpa when he was in training. Matt was a wonderful person and greatly missed.
I was in Matt’s Peace Corps training group in Tegucigalpa. Being in such close quarters, we all bonded pretty well. That horrible morning when we learned of Matt’s death was the day of our graduation from training. It should have been a day of great joy and achievement. Instead it turned to devastating, unfathomable loss. Matt was the best of us. I am proud to call him my friend. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost thirty years since we lost him. Personally, I will never forget him.
29 Years Matt! Missed but never forgotten!
Today I heard the tragic news today of a bus crash in Honduras that killed 3 U.S. volunteers. It reminded me of Matt of his great humanity and service. Many thanks to Matt and all others who have sacrificed so much to make this world a better place.
Matt was one of my third grade students. He possessed caring and great leadership even at a young age. I knew him even before that, and followed him in sports throughout high school. His death was a shock to me and everyone in our community. We lost a fine young man with so much potential that day.
Tonight, in an evening spent with Meskers and Norton’s, Matt’s name was spoken often. I was too young to appreciate his life, but old enough to remember. The overwhelming sadness can be overtaken by sheer pride. Matt’s impact on others stands strong today, tomorrow, and for the future. A tremdous role model- that never dies.
May the good lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you’re far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you’d have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Rest in peace, Matt
Matthew, still sadly missed by our, Norton, families. Watch over us Matt!
Matt was my youngest cousin. We are all so proud of him and his dedication to serving others. We love him and miss him to this day.
I am a fellow classmate of Matt’s and I must say that I am so proud and honored to have called him not only my classmate, but my friend….He was everthing nice with sugar and spice; as my grandmother would say. He always treated everyone the same no matter where they came from…
I did not know Matthew Sherman well; however, I would see him in his father’s drug store (I rented an apartment from his father next to the store in 1979). Matthew was always pleasant and happy. I know he has been missed in the Minster community. My daughter, Krystal, a 2006 graduate of Minster High School left today for Uganda, Africa, to be a Peace Corp. volunteer. My hope is that she will be safe (maybe Matthew and other PVC who left this world too soon will watch over her and other PVC now serving). When I expressed my concern for her safety, Krystal told me that she will probably be safer in Africa than she was when she was getting her bachelor’s degree at OSU and her master’s at Tulane in New Orleans. Let’s hope so.