In Memoriam

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Matthew David Reagon ’94

A picture of Matthew Reagon

Matthew David Reagon '94, June 7, 2008, at home in San Anselmo, California. Matt received a BA from Reed in anthropology. He wrote his thesis with Professor Gail Kelly ’55 [anthropology 1960–2000] on millennial movements among the Maori of New Zealand. While at Reed, he hosted a radio show on KRRC, wrote a column for the Quest, and greatly enjoyed brandishing his rapier wit in seminars, in the Paradox, and in the bars of Portland. After graduating from Reed, Matt pursued his ambition to be a “scholarly gentleman of leisure,” doing graduate work in anthropology, law, ancient Greek and Hebrew, philosophy, and Christian history—most recently at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. At the time of his death he was writing a paper on Baruch Spinoza's Hebrew Grammar, in which he argued that Spinoza's unique approach to Hebrew grammar intentionally conveyed his equally unique approach to epistemology and metaphysics. Matt was a consummate craftsman, and built remarkable creations for his family and installed hardwood floors with artistry. As the owner of Fundamental Floors in San Anselmo, he became a “self-conscious capitalist,” says Tracy Luks ’94—Matt's former spouse and mother of two of his daughters—who provided the details for this memorial. “While not his passion, entrepreneurship satisfied his need to provide for the children he adored, gave him the opportunity to pass on his skills to his Malaysian apprentice, and allowed him to impart historic and literary facts to unsuspecting clients. Further, he took comfort in the fact that Baruch Spinoza ground lenses to support himself.” His avocations included running, mountain climbing, baking, photography with his vintage Rolleiflex medium format camera, occasional preaching, and reading. Tracy notes that Matt was absolutely crazy about each of his children, and often claimed that his family of five girls was the great accomplishment of his life. “They have inherited a legacy of literary passion, arcane vocabulary, and enormous generosity of spirit.” Throughout his adulthood, he struggled with the diseases of bipolar disorder and addiction. While this struggle ultimately ended with his death from a drug overdose, he was clean from drugs for over seven years, and his own recovery and service to those struggling with addiction was central to his identity. For more information, and to share stories and condolences, please visit this blogspot. Survivors include his companion, Lynn Hinck; his three daughters, and two stepdaughters; his parents; and two brothers.

Appeared in Reed magazine: November 2008

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