Matthew was a native of Jonesborough, and the beloved, precious son of Douglas C. Millsaps and Sharon Bennett Millsaps, of the home.
Matthew was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia October 29, 2014, at 14 years of age. He was a patient of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, and the St. Jude Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic, Johnson City.
He was a former student of Lamar School, Jonesborough, where he was on the basketball and track teams for three years. He was a prankster and worked so hard to complete “the 8th grade prank” on his last day of middle school by blowing up truck loads of balloons and distributing them inside his teacher’s classroom.
Upon the onset of his illness, he had just begun his freshman year at David Crockett High School. He excelled in all his classes. Due to the side effects of chemotherapy, he was unable to return to the public-school setting. In August 2017, he began attending classes at Northeast State Community College, to obtain his high school equivalency diploma, and met all the requirements in October 2017. In the presence of his family and friends, he was able to wear his cap and walk across the stage with the Northeast State Adult Education program on June 14, 2018.
Matthew was a son who loved to hunt and fish with his daddy and drive his 1985 Camaro IROC Z-28 and blast 80s music. On a dirt bike he was fearless and looked forward to obtaining his motorcycle license, so he could ride with his dad. He loved to mow and took pride in caring for his Mamaw’s yard, making every line perfectly straight. Matthew also loved his mama fiercely, and he was the light of her life. Every day he was reminded that he was her sweet, sweet boy. Matthew had a love for his sister that was undeniable, and told everyone he met all about his sister, and how proud he was of her, how pretty she was, and how much he loved her. He called her his “little, big sister.” He was a grandson who was adored and brought so much joy to his grandparents anytime he was near. As a nephew, Matthew liked to take trips to Bass Pro, ride dirt bikes or four wheelers and spend time together. Matthew looked forward to the day he would meet a special young lady, marry and become a daddy. He loved children so. He aspired to be an airplane mechanic. For those fortunate enough to meet Matthew, his constant smile, sense of humor, and firm handshake left an impression that will not be easily forgotten.
Matthew was a member of Cherry Grove Baptist Church, Jonesborough, and had asked Jesus into his heart at the age of 7.
Because of his illness, Matthew lived the last two years of his life with many adventures that would have never happened, had he not been sick. His family has been so blessed with hunting expeditions from Sky High Adventures and Trinity Oaks in San Antonio, TX. He also saw his favorite band, Def Leppard, in San Antonio, August 31, 2018. The memories and friendships made during his trips will last a lifetime.
Matthew was preceded in death by his Dadaw, Bobby Jack Bennett, August 23, 2016; his Granny, Imogene Millsaps, December 6, 2017; and his Aunt Jewel Cooper, June 9, 2009.
In addition to his parents, Matthew is survived by his sister, Sara Elizabeth Millsaps, Cleveland, TN; his Mamaw, Kathy Cooper Bennett, Jonesborough, his Pa, Raymond Millsaps, Elizabethton; uncles, David Millsaps, Elizabethton, and David Cooper, Jonesborough; and cousin Davis Webb. He is also survived by special friends: Barbara Allen; Bill Bartlett; Richie Bartosh; Carlos, Patsy, Travis, Faith, and Sadie Campbell; Ed Cobb; Philip, Brandi and Peyton Cornell; David Good; Zach Shell; and Judy and Gerald Webb (aka Meme and Papa); aunt, Doris A. Harry and numerous cousins.
The outpouring of support for the family since his diagnosis has been unfathomable and very appreciated. They would like to offer special thanks to Ballad Health Strategic Planning, Service Line Management, Alan Levine and Corporate Administration, as well as, his parents fellow team members; Wellmont Hospice House, Ballad Health Hospice, the St. Jude Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic, especially Melissa Sifford and Summer Dinnes, for their exceptional compassion, love and care for Matthew; Cherry Grove Baptist Church faithful prayer warriors and Pastor Tommy Clark; Drs. Kathy Klopfenstein, Marcela Popescu, Jeffrey Towbin, Jean Ballweg, John Eshun, Catherine Habashy and Angela Snyder, NP.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, October 13, 2018, at 3:00 pm. at Cherry Grove Baptist Church, 104 Cherry Grove Road, Jonesborough. The family will receive friends at the church from 12 pm until the service time. Pastor Tommy Clark will be officiating, with musical arrangements by Vince Walters, and Matthew’s Story and Memories by Barbara Allen. Matthew will be laid in his earthly resting place next to his Dadaw, in the Cherry Grove-Keplinger Cemetery, immediately following the service. Pallbearers will be: Bill Bartlett, Richie Bartosh, Carlos Campbell, Ed Cobb, David Good, David Millsaps, Zach Shell and Davis Webb. The family will also receive friends at the home of his Mamaw, Kathy Bennett, Jonesborough.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the following:
Ronald McDonald House, 535 Alabama Ave. Memphis TN, 38105;
Sky High for Kids, 9800 Richmond Ave., Ste 335, Houston TX 77042;
Trinity Oaks, 9385 Miller Lane, San Antonio TX 78266.
Condolences may be sent to the Millsaps family online at www.dillow-taylor.com
Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home and Cremation Services 423-753-3821