Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Matthew Johnson

November 10, 1977 - July 13, 2023
Kalamazoo, MI



Saturday, July 22, 2023
11:00 AM EDT
People's Church
1758 10th Street North
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-3262
Web Site


Saturday, July 29, 2023
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Fruitport Congregational Church
9 S 8th Avenue
Fruitport, MI 49415
(231) 865-3551
Web Site


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.

Memorial Scholarship Fund for Isabella and Brock
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

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Matthew "Matt" Johnson of Kalamazoo, passed away unexpectedly on July 13, 2023 while traveling in the Galapagos Islands. He was 45. Matt was born on November 10, 1977 to Roger and Kathleen (Young) Johnson in Muskegon, MI. He graduated from Fruitport High School in 1996 and went on to attend Lake Superior State University, where he was an active member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity and earned his Bachelors in Secondary Education. He later earned his Masters in Science Education and Masters in Ed Leadership from Western Michigan University. Matt worked as a high school science teacher in Battle Creek Public Schools for 6 years, then was a beloved employee in Kalamazoo Public Schools, most recently employed as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. He was a passionate educator and was always striving to do what was best for kids and the community.

Matt married his best friend, Elizabeth “Betsy” (Morgan) Johnson on October 30, 2004. They had two adored children, Isabella Claire Johnson in 2007 and Brock Morgan Johnson in 2009. Matt loved life and was always up for any and every adventure. His passions included hunting and fishing with his dad, traveling as often as possible with his family and friends, spending time with family and friends at their cottage, and cheering on Bella and Brock in their countless soccer, basketball, and baseball games. He was also an animal lover who loved spending time with Teddy, the family's goldendoodle, as well as bird watching and just being in nature. During his short life he was an example of how to not take anything for granted and how to live life to the fullest. Matt’s kindness, genuineness, humor, and easy-going personality will be missed by all who knew him.

Matthew is survived by his wife of 18 years, Elizabeth Johnson; his children, Isabella and Brock Johnson; his parents, Roger and Kathleen Johnson; his older sister and brother-in-law, Renee and John Braun; and nephews, John William Braun and Colin Matthew Braun. He is also survived by his father-in-law, Daniel Morgan; mother-in-law, Ann (Sutherland) Morgan; sisters-in-law, Molly and Andrea Morgan; and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. The family would like to say a special thanks to Worldstrides and the American Embassy in Ecuador, who have made this incredibly difficult time much easier on the family.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday (JULY 22) 11 AM at People’s Church in Kalamazoo. A visitation will also be held on Saturday (JULY 29) from 2-5 PM at Fruitport Community Church (formerly Fruitport Congregational Church). Those wishing to donate to a memorial fund for Isabella and Brock’s future education needs can so at: https://www.freefunder.com/campaign/in-memory-of-matt-johnson.

Visit Matt's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, or sign his guestbook. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.