In the "about me" section of his Facebook page, Mathew Shane Huffman lists only one approach to life -- "family first." For those who knew him, Huffman's dedication to putting the happiness of his family, friends and others first was a theme of his life that created an indelible impression of a caring young man.
Huffman, a 20-year-old graduate of St. Charles North High School, died Friday after suffering major head trauma from a skateboarding accident.
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Huffman, known as "Huff Daddy" to his close friends, is remembered for his love of athletics and all things fun. He most recently touched the lives of others by working as an assistant coach to the St. Charles East/North High School combined junior varsity lacrosse team.
"There was not a bad bone in his body," said Huffman's father, Spencer Huffman. "He started playing lacrosse at a young age. He always loved it. I think his involvement with coaching came from lacrosse being a big part of his life, and it was a way for him to continue to stay in touch with the sport. His ultimate goal was he wanted to help people. He was just a good human being."
Huffman's oldest sister, Lauren Robinson, said her brother's caring nature came from the closeness of his family and his being the youngest of five children.
"I think the five of us have always just been there for each other," she said. "That's just how we were raised. He helped others. He was always about making people laugh. Whatever he did, he wanted to enjoy himself."
Spencer Huffman said his son was recently considering a career somewhere in the medical field as a route to continuing his goal to help others.
Huffman's friends have rallied to help his family during their time of grief. A gofundme.com site created by friends raised nearly $10,000 in just three days for Huffman's family. The site also lists more than 130 donors expressing their own grief at the loss of Huffman.
"You were one of the greatest friends I ever had, and I am honored to have had the chance to be so close to you these past five years," wrote Allie Clark. "There will not be a day that I don't think about you. Our memories are endless, and I will never forget them. I'll cherish them for the rest of my life."
"Mathew was an amazing friend to grow up with," wrote Ben Dvorak. "I have got to experience many things with him, and each one of them bring a smile to my face. I will forever remember Mathew as a great best friend and a great person. His carefree, fun and loving lifestyle will live through each person Mathew has touched. I know he will be watching over each and every one us."
A memorial service for Huffman will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Hosanna! Lutheran Church, 36W925 Red Gate Road, St. Charles. Call (630) 584-6434 for additional information.
The Huffman family has asked that memorials be sent to the Brain Injury Association of America: biausa.org/donate.htm.