Dr. Matthew Charles Garver
December 15, 1965 – June 20, 2021
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
On June 20, 2021, Dr. Matthew Charles Garver left this earth and had a long-awaited reunion with his mother, Betty Garver, in heaven. While those that love him are devastated, they have comfort knowing that they will one day see him again.
Dr. Garver, formerly of Albia, Iowa, was a father, a grandpa, a husband, a son, a brother, and one heck of a veterinarian. He was a man of few words, quick wit, and infinite compassion. He loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards and a good steak. He enjoyed working out, and he didn’t skip leg day. His greatest joys were his family. Dr. Garver’s most recent delight in life came from his grandson, Will, and the news that another grandchild was on the way.
Dr. Garver was Charles and Betty Garver’s fourth son. As a kid, Dr. Garver’s brothers (Steve, Mike, and Bruce) would have likely described him as the typical “baby.” In other words, he was the apple of his mother’s eye and rarely got into trouble. Dr. Garver excelled in academics and sports. More importantly, he was a kind person and received the Wayne Community High School citizenship award. In 1983, Dr. Garver graduated from Wayne and participated in the Iowa Shrine Bowl that summer (an event that he would attend 35 years later to proudly support his son). He continued to Waldorf University and later transferred to Kansas State University, where he served as a football team captain and graduated veterinary school in 1991. During his time at Kansas State, Dr. Garver was named an NCAA Academic All-American. In October 2018, Wayne Community High School inducted Dr. Garver into its Hall of Fame.
Even more important than his football accolades and academic successes were his family. On June 6, 1987, Dr. Garver married Julie (Petty) Garver, and in the years that followed, they had three children—Amy (Bill) Beck, Kristyn (Kaynan) Anderson, and Trent Garver. In late 2019, Dr. Garver and Julie divorced, and he later remarried in 2020, resettling in Lee’s Summit, MO. Despite life’s changes, he remained a devoted father and grandfather.
Dr. Garver was the type of dad that any person would be lucky to have had. He taught his children the importance of treating people with respect and dignity regardless of whether the person was the CEO or the janitor. He provided a steadfast example of hard work and dedication to your goals. While he consistently pushed his children to be their best, he showed them grace in their defeats. He loved to tease his kids and keep them humble. However, he also displayed their National Honor Society stickers with pride on his dirty vet truck and loved sharing their most recent accomplishments with anyone who would listen. Even into adulthood, Dr. Garver was who his children would turn to for a listening ear and advice on a tough situation. To say they will be lost without him is an understatement.
While Dr. Garver was many things, he was an outstanding veterinarian. He treated every animal as if it were his own beloved pet. He regularly stayed up all night, monitoring his four-legged patients to ensure a speedy recovery. He sacrificed many holidays and birthdays to provide his furry friends with the upmost care. He often studied medical journals and textbooks at the kitchen table to find ways to address unknown or new ailments. He poured his heart and soul into the practice of veterinary medicine, and it showed. From the ground up, he started his veterinary clinic and in less than 20 years, it became a thriving four location practice before he closed this chapter of his life.
His loss will echo in the hearts of those that he has left behind.
A celebration of Dr. Garver’s life will be held at the Animal Health Center of Albia (1976 684th Avenue, Albia, IA 52531) on Saturday, June 26, 2021, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. This will be an informal gathering, and his family looks forward to hearing others’ stories of Dr. Garver’s life and legacy.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Monroe County 4-H Foundation, Albia Booster Club, or any charity of the donor’s choice.