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Life Story / Obituary
Matt Flaig was a strong-willed, determined, and fiercely independent person. However, perhaps the word that paints the most vivid picture of him is selfless. He was always looking for ways to give back to the community he loved and there simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for anyone in need. He leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories to be forever remembered by all who knew and loved him.
The year 1957 saw the continued success of the automotive industry with larger cars with more powerful engines. Amidst this exciting time, Herbert H. and Catherine (nee Skoglund) Flaig were pleased to announce the arrival of their baby boy, Matthew on August 7th in Riverdale, Illinois. There is no doubt that his birth brought his parents great joy and happiness. Born to hardworking parents, his father was a general manager for IBM and his mother was a loving homemaker to him and his younger brothers, Mark and John, they modeled a strong work ethic over the years.
As a kid, Matt and the family relocated various times due to his father’s climb up the IBM (I've Been Moved) corporate ladder; each promotion meant a new office/city; and there were several. They lived in Maryland and New Jersey before finally settling down in Milwaukee area. Frequently the new kid at school, Matt liked to seek refuge in his favorite pastime of reading. He’d often skip school to head to the local library where he could immerse himself in the latest popular books. Growing up during the time of Brady Bunch, The Three Stooges, and the Slip ‘N Slide, Matt’s childhood was typical of the times. He developed a deep love of baseball at an early age. He played catcher and was known to throw a player out at second base from his knees! Unfortunately, he blew out his arm in high school and his years of playing came to an end. In addition to his time on the ball field, Matt equally enjoyed spending time fishing with his dad and his brothers on the family boat. His favorite memories of these growing years were the times the family traveled back by car to visit to visit Grandma and Grandpa Flaig in South Holland, IL and Grandma Skoglund in Oak Park, IL for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Three boys in the car, "Are we there yet?". These were special trips filled with memories of eating traditional dishes and celebrating with the extended family and many cousins. The most level-headed of them all, he was known to stick up for his cousin, Robin when others would pick on her. The two of them remained close over the years.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the woman of his dreams, Trini Torres! At the time he was working as the service manager for Software Banc in Milwaukee, and she was the office manager at a Chicago doctor’s office. They exchanged telephone conversations before she agreed to join him to a Brewer’s game. Hitting it off right from the start, just three short years later, she moved up from Chicago to be with Matt. Although they never officially married and didn’t have children, they were both equally fond of their special furry companions over the years. After lymphoma claimed their first dog, Taz, they visited the Wisconsin Humane Society and brought 4-month-old Rusty home. Little did they know he would grow to be 70 lbs! A year later, they accepted, Smokey, a 1 ½-year-old, 90 lb Weimaraner. Both Rusty and Smokey were well cared for and attended obedience classes together. Matt and Trini took the two of them on many adventures over the years. They enjoyed hiking in Door County for seven consecutive years taking in Rock Island and Peninsula State Park.
Matt shared many special interests and pastimes. He and Trini enjoyed traveling to Key West after visiting his parents in Boca Raton yearly in the late 90's. When in Florida, Matt made it a point to visit NASA, Kennedy Space Center, because of his respect for the astronauts and their bravery. A National League fan, it was no surprise that his favorite trip, however, was to Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He studied all there was to know about the area and savored two full days at the museum so he was sure to read each and every placard in the whole building! Second favorite was the Cub game on August 8,1988 to see the last game played without lights at Wrigley Field. He was an avid Brewer fan, even when they were in the American League, and there were his fantasy baseball league teams. Matt had a innate gift for music. He loved to listen to a wide variety of artists and grew fond of playing the banjo. Matt often packed his banjo on trips to Chicago to enjoy jam sessions with his uncles, especially his uncle Rich who would join him in their own unique rendition of “Dueling Banjos!” he even named his dog Scruggs, after Earl Scruggs, the renowned banjo player. When he was working, he always had WMSE 91.7 radio on. He loved that a different DJ would play their own creative playlist every three hours. Much to their delight, he and Trini’s tenant played viola for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She recently introduced Matt to “Bach at the Basilica” and from that moment on he was hooked! Sharing their new found love of the symphony, he and Trini regularly attended and became donors.
In addition to his love of travel, baseball, and music, Matt also enjoyed many years of playing golf. A regular at the Milwaukee County Park system, he also played a few rounds up in Door County for the great view! On July 25, 1995, he had a hole-in-one at Grant Park in Cudahy, a once in a lifetime achievement. He also enjoyed his time in the kitchen where he was known to cook Chinese dishes from scratch and bake the best tasting pastries and pies. Paying attention to every detail, he even made his own phyllo dough! Matt was recently preparing for a life-saving heart and kidney transplant. Knowing that the next year would involve extensive rehab, he was looking forward to spending time nurturing his dozen hybrid-tea roses in his garden. Sadly, his health continued to decline and Matt passed away before receiving the transplant. May his life be a reminder to each of those lives he touched to live life to the fullest measure and without regret. May his loved ones never doubt his love for them and may his wonderful memories and sense of humor comfort them in his absence.
Matthew H. Flaig, age 61, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin passed away on April 29, 2019. He was the beloved partner and best friend of Trini Torres; dear brother of Mark (Jo Ann) Flaig and John (Melissa) Flaig. He is further survived by many special nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Family and friends will gather Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the Niemann / Suminski Funeral Home, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. from 12:00 PM until time of the Memorial Service at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Second Harvest of Wisconsin, WMSE.org, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra or MADACC.org.