Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Matthew Clayborn

April 21, 1986 - May 4, 2020
Formerly of Kalamazoo, MI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Residential Opportunities Inc
1100 South Rose Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A vibrant person to know and to love, Matthew Clayborn lived his life to the fullest. Energetic and always on the go, he lived his life selflessly putting others first and going out of his way to give back to the family he loved. Matthew was a lover of all people. His positive outlook and magnetic personality will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.

Matthew’s story begins in the year of 1986. In that year we witnessed live on television the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding shortly after takeoff and the country was at the cusp of the technological age with the Compaq beating IBM to the market for home computers and Nintendo entertainment systems became common place in homes across the nation. Anthony and Susan Clayborn welcomed home their newborn baby boy in Kalamazoo, Michigan on April 21st. Joining his older siblings, Tisha, Michael, and Amanda, his birth brought much joy and happiness into the family home.

Born with a zest for life and a natural ability to turn everything in to a negotiation, Matthew was successful at anything he put his mind to accomplishing. Even at a young age when he learned to read, he started with a dictionary! This provided him a wonderful gift later in life for engaging willing and unwilling participants in a war of words, a friendly debate, or witty banter. He often chose his Aunt Laura Irish as his partner in the art of repartee. Matthew and his sister Amanda were inseparable as children. As with most siblings, they took turns instigating and preventing trouble for the other. Matthew was a fierce protector to many over the years. As an adolescent, he once bounded over two sets of bleachers and a fence to prevent his brother, Michael’s fall from a seizure.

Always up for an adventure, he and his family enjoyed many vacations together. They especially savored their trips to Disney World, Hilton Head, as well as camping. Thanksgiving vacations in resorts across the nation with the entire Irish family were some of his favorite childhood highlights. Matthew’s love of food grew from these gatherings where they were known to have oyster dressing, banana cream pie, and prime rib. Active as well as outgoing, he was involved with his high school wrestling team and was never short on friends. He also played football and participated in an occasional school play. After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, he studied at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before moving to Florida and attending Seminole State University in Florida.

Matthew lived a life full of many special interests. He continued his love of reading well into his adult years especially favoring thrillers and mysteries. A foodie at heart, Matthew and his sister loved to discuss food - even after just having eaten! He was an exceptional cook and commanded any kitchen! Hardworking and dedicated, he also enjoyed being alone for his down time. For relaxation, he enjoyed video games, posting memes, and hanging out with his close friends. Matthew was a loyal friend and gave a listening ear to anyone who needed it. It was evident in anyone’s first meeting of him that he had a special way with people. He loved to connect with others and listen to their stories - almost as much as he loved telling his own. Remarkably, he never forgot a special birthday or holiday and loved choosing the perfect present for special friends and family. Matthew had an exceptional ability to empathize with others and had an extraordinary gift of making others feel at ease. Matthew was often the life of the party. While nothing seemed to bother him, he was far more sensitive than he ever wanted anyone to know.

As he evolved as an adult, Matthew followed his heart and passion wherever it took him. He eventually moved to live in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey. During his time in any given community, he was active as a volunteer supporting many organizations especially those that supported people with developmental disabilities, LGBTQ pride, and advocacy and support to people with HIV/AIDs. Matthew found his niche with CSL Plasma, working at centers in Kalamazoo, Portage, and Wyoming Michigan; as well as his most recent supervisory and training positions with CSL Plasma in Linden, New Jersey. Matthew could truly be himself, when he felt the acceptance and support from his loving family. We loved Matthew just exactly who he was. Matthew was generous with his love as well as his advice. He would willingly give whatever someone needed even if he needed it for himself. There is no doubt that his megawatt smile, his wonderful sense of humor, and his positive regard for all humanity will be greatly missed by the countless lives he touched over the years. May his legacy of selflessly giving his time and resources as well as his unending optimism be a reminder to all to live their lives authentically.

Matthew Carl Clayborn, age 34, formerly of Kalamazoo, Michigan, passed away unexpectedly, at his home in Newark, New Jersey early in the morning of May 4, 2020. Matthew is survived by his parents, Anthony and Susan Clayborn, his brother and sisters, Tisha, Michael and Amanda, his grandfather Kenneth Irish, and a large number of devoted aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Matthew was recently preceded in death by his beloved grandmother, Margaret Irish and his cousin Ernest Clayborn, who Matthew will now join in eternity. A limited seating memorial service to celebrate Matthew’s life will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. For those who will not be able to participate in the memorial, the service will be broadcast at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/77082406743?pwd=3DWmE5Uy9pRXM1Y2FaTzBBeWkyZlQ2UT09. Please visit Matthew’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Residential Opportunities Incorporated.