Born Matthew Karl Meier on March 31, 1968, and was raised in Kāne'ohe, Hawai'i, as the second of four children for Carl and Pat Meier, Matthew was as great of an older brother to Jason and Michelle as he was a younger brother to Eric.

 
Matthew developed an infatuation with aviation as a child when he got a Pan Am flight bag for Christmas that became his constant companion until it literally fell apart.  He liked being around airplanes so much that he begged his dad to take him to Honolulu International Airport on the weekend just the watch the airplanes!
  A natural born athlete, he spent the majority of his childhood mastering the sports of Soccer, Track, Football and Basketball. His talents earned him the Presidential Fitness Award (a distinction issued by the President of the United States) which is now known as the President's Challenge

 

 

Matthew went on to letter in three sports at St. Louis High School, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was named “The St. Louis Man” (for the student who best represented the mission, values, and style of the school).  He graduated St. Louis (Class of 1987) as a High School All American in Track, and was recruited by a number of Universities on the Mainland U.S. 

 
 

His passion for aviation and love of sports lead him to decide upon Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois (the Alma Mater of both his parents and his older bother) where he received a full athletic scholarship and became a three year letterman in Varsity Football. 

 

Never losing sight of his goals, he graduated from S.I.U. in 1992 with a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Management and Airway Science, and off to Chicago O'Hare International Airport he went.

 

He began by working for United Express Airlines as a full-time supervisor, and for United Airlines as a part-time Ramp Serviceman until he was furloughed in April of 1994.  For the next nine months, he spent his free time networking his way back to United Air Lines until in January of 1995 he was offered a full-time position at OPBOP as an Air Craft Router.   
 

His professional dream had finally come true, and through it he became engaged to Katie Orlando (whom he met on a blind date through a United Air Lines employee).

 

Life was good until June of 1995 when Matthew began experiencing chest pains and was diagnosed with a rare form of Testicular Cancer known as Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumors, a cancer which carried only a 50% cure ratio.  Having to embark on what would prove to be a taxing voyage, he went on long-term disability leave with United Air Lines and underwent 13 cycles of chemotherapy and 2 major surgeries for the removal of several tumors from his chest cavity. 

Faced with the lack of income that accompanies the first six months of long-term disability, Matthew's then manager, Jim Pierscionek, and his team at OPBOP went into action.  Lead by Jim, the team held raffles and silent auctions often offering up their own personal possessions to be auctioned off.

They also organized fund raisers to assist Matthew and Katie in paying the staggering medical bills and achieve their dream of being married on April 27, 1996.  It was a blessed day.

Unfortunately Matthew's cancer would not respond to treatment and by the end of May of 1996 he was given less than six months to live and no hope for a cure.  But Matthew’s belief in God and the creed he lived by, “Faith, Family, Friends, Fortitude, Future”, never faltered. 

He was relentless in his pursuit to conquer his disease, and he enlisted his wife, family and friends in his plight.  His journey led him across the country and beyond its borders to the leading institutions in the field, but the cure was not to be found and the disease went into its advanced stages. 
With his life on Earth drawing to a close, he telephoned his colleagues Jim Pierscionek, Mike Early, Celeste Guadagno, Patty Paez, and Patrick Ready, at the OPBOP to say good-bye and tell them what an honor it was to work with them at United. 

Although only having worked for them for six months, this teams tenacious efforts allowed for United to name one of its Boeing 737-300 Jets after him.  They made Matthew's life-long dream come true and celebrated his legacy with the most distinguished honor imaginable. 

On September 25, 1996 at 1:00pm, with his family and loved ones at his side, Matthew Karl Meier died at 28 years of age.  He was laid to rest at in Niles, Illinois on the grounds of St. Adalbert’s Cemetery at a special spot lying directly beneath United Airline’s flight patterns so that Matthew can watch United's airplanes fly overhead for eternity.