Mathew Crovella was born in Hamilton, NY on January 26, 2001, to his loving parents, Dilia and Paul Crovella. 15 months later he was joined by his younger sister, Sarah, and then 17 months after by his youngest sister, Isabel (aka "Izzy"). He reveled in youthful adventures living in the small, rural community of Madison, NY, exploring his surroundings, from the nearby forests behind the house to the faraway homeland of his mother, Ecuador. None of these adventures passed without his sisters by his side, and his parents racing to keep up.
For Matthew, every day was an adventure. From his small Spanish-speaking home of five, each day he climbed aboard a bus to immerse himself in his (English-speaking) world of caring teachers and friends at Madison Central School. When he started Pre-K he knew almost no English and listened shyly as his classmates chattered away. He quickly found words and friends to open his life in this new world. By the end of his pre-K year, his teacher selected him as the "the most curious" in his class, always full of questions, and filled with further wonderment with each explanation. This inquisitiveness propelled him through endless stacks of books in elementary school and made dinnertime at a home a constant stream of queries and ponderings for all.
After thirteen years, Matthew and his family began a new adventure, with a move to Syracuse (Manlius), NY, with new challenges at each turn. His world at school grew enormously, and once again he listened shyly at first as he met new friends and found a new home. He was exhilarated by the challenge of the classes but still couldn't wait for the day to end and head out outside for soccer and cycling in the fall and spring, and his favorite sport, speedskating, in the winter. Early in 9th grade his speedskating efforts earned him a medal in Innsbruck, Austria, as a part of a delegation representing Lake Placid and the US at the International Children's Games. His desire to connect with others and his love for kids led him to attain a job working as a referee for youth soccer games. He continued this job all throughout high school, teaching younger children the rules of a game he loved. By his 11th grade year, he was fully immersed in activities to share the wonders of science with Syracuse City school children, through the "SciExcite" program. After his eleventh-grade year, Matthew worked for the summer as a legal intern at a law office in Quito, Ecuador. There he learned the intricacies of Ecuadorian jurisprudence, and also how to jump on and off of moving buses to deliver legal documents across the city. His interest in law was constantly stoked by his efforts on the F-M "Mock Trial" team, and the team was recognized as NYS Champions in two of the four years that he participated. Having started scouting in Madison, and continuing in Cazenovia, his Senior year he became an Eagle Scout. Through all of this, he studied passionately, filled his schedule to the brim (who needs lunch???), and made sure that his schoolwork was done and done well.
During this time, Matthew was drawn to activities to help others: He spent many weekends helping to fix bikes for the CNY family bike giveaway (Thanks Jan!), spent two trips to Mexico building orphanages with Heromakers (Thanks Rocky!), and many days with family in Ecuador distributing rice and sugar in the Ecuadorian countryside (Gracias Hermanos!).
His schooling and desire to contribute led him to Cornell University where he was recognized as a Cornell Tradition Fellow for leadership in service. His interests in service and global issues led him to pursue a degree in Health Care Policy, Analysis, and Planning, with a focus on Global Health. While at Cornell he volunteered as a Cornell Tradition Fellow and also served as a volunteer EMT and exterior firefighter for the Cayuga Heights Fire Department. Most recently he had begun part-time employment with Bang's Ambulance as an EMT.
Matthew loved his family and reveled in spending time together. Every night at dinnertime, he enjoyed the lively debates around the dinner table, which more often than not ended in wild discussions about life on other planets and lots of laughter. At the end of every night, he would always jokingly wonder what dinnertime conversations in a "normal" family would look like. He enjoyed cooking, whether it be preparing breakfast in bed for his parents or cooking perfect pizzas with every pepperoni meticulously placed. Matthew found comfort in music, especially classical and instrumental music. He loved family trips as well, not for the places he visited, but for the time he spent with his family exploring nature, and discovering new trails. Family trips to Yellowstone and the Badlands didn't add a stamp to his passport, but left him with a treasure trove of memories. All of it, he did with love and passion.
While his untimely passing has left us all with a deep wound, we feel profoundly grateful for the time we shared with him. He is survived by his immediate family, and extended families in the US and Ecuador. Calling hours will be on Sunday, February 7, from 2-5pm, and the remembrance will be held on Monday, February 8 at 11am. Both calling hours and the remembrance will be at the Burns Garfield Funeral Home, 3175 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13224. The remembrance can be accessed remotely at https://tinyurl.com/f865bw4z