Obituary: Matthew Thomas Steffich

Matthew Thomas Steffich: September 25, 1958 - June 3, 2020

Matt died suddenly in his prized gallery, Steffich Fine Art (Salt Spring Island), which he proudly grew over the period of 27 years. Born in East Vancouver, Matt had a spirited and textured childhood with his siblings and many friends. He had endless stories of his adventures around his neighbourhood, the PNE, hockey games and countless concerts and gigs.

After being excommunicated from Catholic school, which he often bragged about, Matt continued his growth as a world-class guitar player. He would tell anyone who would listen about his 9 years with The Fins. The stories were wild, hilarious and not for the faint of heart. Matt continued to gig whenever he had the chance, and played guitar to his final day.

In 1992, Matt and his then wife Jen Rosling moved to Salt Spring Island and started his lifelong passion, Thunderbird Gallery (now Steffich Fine Art). Matt proudly and falsely claimed to know nothing about art. His magnetic personality and passion for art was instrumental in the gallery’s success. The gallery soon became a hub for the community where people from all walks of life would visit. Matt had a passion for his community and would take up a cause that anyone presented to him, as long as he agreed with it. His presence and service to Salt Spring will never be replaced.

One of Matt’s greatest strengths was his sense of humour. He had an endless arsenal of jokes that were appropriate for every occasion. He also had an endless arsenal of jokes that were wildly inappropriate for any occasion. It’s lucky he had the ability to choose wisely. He was witty and with a remarkable sense of……………………timing!

Matt was a dedicated and true friend to countless people in Vancouver, on Salt Spring and indeed around the world. If you were his friend, he was your champion. If you were upset, he would dispense comforting advice. If you were sad, he would make you laugh. If you had a problem, he would have several solutions. Solicited or not, Matt would give his advice. He was proud of his friends. His endless stories of them illustrated his pride and love for each and every one of them.

Above all, Matt was a family man. He loved his parents dearly and was as close as anyone could be to their siblings. For him, they were the perfect characters in an endlessly entertaining play. He loved them with all his heart. Matt adored his wife Chris, who he met in the late ‘90s while they both worked at the Vesuvius Inn. They shared a love of humour, hockey, good wine and travel. They shared a love for each other. Above all, Matt cherished being a father. He approached his role as a dad with equal measures of seriousness and humour. He burst with pride while talking about both his sons, Austin, 26 years old (Jen Rosling), and Dakota, 14 years old (Chris Steffich). They were his pillars of strength. He loved them with every ounce of his being and was determined to see that they became individuals as upstanding as himself. He succeeded.

Matt is predeceased by his loving parents Raymond and Margaret Steffich. He’s moved on ahead of: His wife Christine Steffich and their son Dakota; son Austin Steffich-Rosling (mother Jen Rosling); siblings Mike, Mark (Phyllis), Kathy and Steve (Tammy). Also left behind are countless nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. You get the idea. Matt is also getting his interdimensional fly-crib ready for an endless parade of friends from Vancouver, Salt Spring and all parts unknown.

Presently, Matt is really annoying Hank Williams and Duane Allman.

Matt, if you’re reading this, they are tired of jamming with you.

Finally, for you all, Matt’s favourite piece of advice: Carpe the F*&king Diem.

Photo: Kyle Heeb

June 10, 2020 7:00 AM

Community Comments

  • Avatar dawnamasters says:

    Thank you for writing this beautiful piece for your friend John. It shows how you really knew the depths of Matt as you captured the essence of his character so well. I did not know him well but feel a little more connected after reading this. I do know his presence will be missed in this community.
    Fly free brother!
    Sincerely, dawna masters

  • Avatar WildwoodHouse says:

    We were really sorry to see this news. Have known Matt for 20 years and friends for almost as long. He beamed with pride when he told me the story of acquiring his prized vintage 'Vette last year and when I told him that was my dream era for muscle cars, he gave me that big laugh, grinned, put a big arm around my shoulder and bellowed: "What're you waiting for--you ain't getting any younger!" He will be sorely missed by all. Great loving, tribute, John. Our condolences to Matt's family, friends and the entire Saltspring community.

  • Avatar Sean says:

    Nailed it, John. Well done. RIP, Matt. You’ll be missed by so many — what a legacy to leave!

  • Avatar MJ Ess says:

    What a heartwarming, intimate tribute to both your & the community's amazing friend. Saying Matt will be missed is a massive understatement. My heart goes out to his wife, children & family. Thank you for sharing. MJ

  • Great tribute John to a fabulous guy. It captures him so well along with the photo! He is also annoying John Prine, but he would play forever with him 🙂 Sending love and light to his family

    Tracy Harrison

  • Avatar Anne Palmer says:

    A stellar obituary for a stellar man. Salt Spring doesn't feel the same without his joyous, welcoming presence.

    The good news is that he passed suddenly doing what he loved in a beautiful space that he created. A peaceful transition leaving behind an army of loving friends, family, good deeds, fine art, and great music. It is a fitting legacy for such an admirable man.

  • Avatar Edith Fishlock says:

    I was so sorry to hear of Matt's passing (on CBC this weekend). I knew Matt as Dakota's Dad while I was teaching Grade 1/2 at Salt Spring Elementary. They had such a special bond. Dakota's face lit up when he saw his dad waiting for him after school. You could tell they really enjoyed their time together. I know the community will hold the family close.