Lygate, Matt

Matt Lygate, 80, of Wilmington, Delaware passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by the love of his family. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and was a faith-filled man of many talents and accomplishments. He had a charismatic way of making everyone feel like family and everyone who knew Matt, loved him.

Matt was born in October 1943 as the only child to Matt and Barbara Lygate. His early Scottish upbringing was a great time in his life. While in 8th grade, he met the future love of his life, Joan Ruf, in homeroom. They continued in school together and fell deeply in love in their high school years. Matt then attended the University of Delaware and married Joan in August 1965. They started their life together in Newark, Delaware as Matt was finishing his last year of college. He graduated in 1966 and embarked on his career with Exxon, rising to the role of nationwide top sales-person during his impactful 12 year career.

In 1977, Matt decided to make a bold move and establish his own small business - an accounting practice - with Joan. Together, they built a successful business for over 35 years. Their many loyal clients and employees became their lifelong friends.

Matt deeply loved his family - his two daughters and son-in-laws and five grandchildren. They loved spending time on the beach and the boat in South Bethany. He infamously ignored all “no wake signs” when driving the boat and never missed out on riding his bike to get ice cream with the grandkids.

Matt’s love for his wife Joan of 58 years was a beautiful testament to their marriage. Their bond was strong, evident in the way they danced on the boat, held hands and shared affection. Their relationship was filled with laughter, travel, and countless memories that will be cherished forever. The love they shared was a true example of a lasting and meaningful partnership, inspiring all who witnessed it.

Matt and Joan were devoted supporters of their grandchildren, traveling to their athletic events near and far. They were affectionately called the “#1 Fan Club” and Matt was everyone’s “Papa”.

Papa loved to meet people, tell stories, and learn. He knew the barometric pressure at all times, earning the nickname “JW” (Junior Weatherman) from his daughters. He knew geography and astronomy expertly. Years before the invention of Google Maps, Matt would draw detailed maps for the kids anywhere they needed to go. They would often call him when lost and he could get them home from anywhere, sometimes just from the location of the sun or the moon.

Matt led a faith-filled life as a devoted member of Unity Lutheran Church (formerly Zion Lutheran Church). He held many leadership positions - including President of Church Council - and he was the Treasurer until his death. Matt and Joan volunteered many hours at the church each week as it was their joy and privilege to serve God.

Matt is survived by his wife, Joan, of 58 years; his daughters Cindy Gee (Scott) and Julia Ashworth (Travis); five grandchildren - Colton Gee, Connor Gee, Delaney Ashworth, Cassidy Ashworth, and Addison Ashworth. He also has countless nieces, nephews, and extended family that are close to him. His legacy of kindness, generosity, humor, and faith will live on in the lives of those he touched.

A visitation will take place on Thursday, May 9, 2024 from 5:00-7:00pm at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3710 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE. A funeral will be held on Friday, May 10, 2024 at 11:00am at Unity Lutheran Church, 2101 Lancaster Ave, Wilmington, DE.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Unity Lutheran Church at the above address.

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by 2fish