Matthew J. Sprague

Matthew J. Sprague

February 06, 1990 - May 10, 2012

Matthew J. Sprague

February 06, 1990 - May 10, 2012


Matthew Joseph Sprague
February, 6 1990 May 10, 2012

Matthew is survived by his mother Paula Mugavero, step father Dave Mugavero, and step brother Chad Mugavero, father Brian Sprague, step mother Janice Sprague, brother Michael Sprague, and sister Georgia Sprague, grandparents Dolores and Roland LaRue, grandmother Ann Sprague, and grandparents Lou and Don Gibbs. He is a beloved son, brother, and grandson to his family, and dear friend to many.

Matthew was a very loving person with a huge heart who had a positive effect on his family and friends. He was always willing to help someone in need if he could. He loved the outdoors, the mountains, and the oceans. He was a free spirit. He had many aspirations of what he wanted to do with his life including making music or entering the medical field, but left us at too young an age to succeed in these.

A Vigil Service will be held for Matthew on Wednesday May 16th, from 7-9:00PM at O’Connor Mortuary in Laguna Hills. A Funeral Mass will be held for him on May 17th at 11:00AM at St Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Matthews honor to First Step House of Orange County, a non-profit organization here in Orange County and an establishment that had helped Matthew in the past.

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55 responses to Matthew J. Sprague

  1. To Paula, Dave, Chad, Michael, Brian, Janice, and Georgia,
    Words can not express the sadness in my heart every time I think about Matthew. I know he is in a better, more peaceful place. Because I could not be with you to celebrate Matthews life, I appreciated reading the eulogy and seeing all the great pictures of Matthew. Although I didn’t get to see him as much as I would have liked, he will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to all of you.
    Gayle (Dave’s sister)

  2. Matthew Joseph Sprague was born February 6, 1990.

    From the time he was born, Matt’s energy levels were off the charts, and only increased with his ability to walk and talk.

    His curious nature would have put Curious George to shame. Matthew did not have a shy bone in his body, and when you were around him, it was evident that he was always in the thick of the action. In fact, he was the action. No one could keep pace with his energy.

    As a child Matthew did not have an off button. He was funny and witty and made you laugh even when you were mad at him.

    He seemed to be most at home in nature, whether it was running through avocado and strawberry fields, or staying in the ocean for hours without ever wearing a wetsuit.

    In fact the only real match for Matthew’s energy was the energy of nature itself.

    As he got older and wasn’t around as much, we all got angry at him, not because we didn’t love him, but because we wanted the happy, fun, crazy nut that we always knew him to be, to be back in our lives again.

    He was in the truest sense of the word an entertainer and someone who wanted to please you with everything that he did.

    We missed his precocious nature and his larger-than-life personality and smile. We missed his protectiveness of his younger siblings. We missed the gentleness of his free-spirited soul. We miss our son, our brother, our friend, and our gift from God. Please remember him as the gift he was in life, and always will be in our hearts and our memories. He is not gone as long as the people who loved him keep his memory ever present. So please talk about him and share the good and the not so good times with each other. Doing so will help us move beyond our worldly understanding of what he was really here to teach us.

    Love each other unconditionally. Never take one second of precious life for granted, always look for the best in others, realize that life is fragile, and enjoy your life to the fullest.

    You have no boundaries now babe. Soar like an eagle. Swim like a dolphin. You’re free at last baby.

    We will see you again Matt.

    You’ll always stay alive in our hearts Matthew our beloved boy.

    We Love You Forever!

    I was proud to have you as my son.


  3. Many have asked about Brian’s eulogy for Matt. Here it is…

    Matt was born on February 6th, 1990, as the first child of his parents, Paula and me. In the early years of his life he was quite active and seemed to have an affinity for forgetting his boundaries. He was very good at training his parents to be stronger, and paved the way for his siblings in the training of us.

    His brother Michael was born in 1992, just two years later. And I watched the bond between brothers form. They were very close for Matt’s whole life, and it seemed to me that the bond between them was the strongest I had ever seen between two people. Matt guided his brother and was very helpful and loving. He guided Mike through their most difficult times. They were willing to fight each other at a moments notice, but would let no outsider injure either one in word or fist. Matt was fortunately born with a sense of humor and truly enjoyed his own jokes especially when they were directed at another, for example his brother. Teasing Mike for his own enjoyment was one of his favorite things to do. We’d often hear the belly laugh out of Matt and we knew what it meant.

    Matt scooched me too. One example was by simply announcing the word “Chicken” or “I love chicken”. Why this word, I have no idea, At any time he would say the word in many ways with different volume, and pitch – shouts, whispers. He annoyed me so much with this, I forbid him and would take his privileges away for just saying the word under any condition. So what did he do instead of saying “I love chicken” he’d blurt out “I love that word I’m not allowed to say” Giant smile, huge laugh. He thought this was quite funny. This is the thing though: Matt did not love chicken at all, nor did he love Salmon but he ate a lot of it. To say the least, Matthew had a great sense of humor and brought smiles and laughter to many around him.

    When Matt was 12 his sister Georgia was born. Georgia was a micro-preemie, who was born at only 1 pound and very sick. I remember how concerned and stressed he was about her. I also remember the first time we brought him to see her in the neonatal intensive care unit. Just looking at her, tears began flowing down his face. I also remember at a later date when he was allowed to first sit and hold her in the hospital. He beamed with pride over his tiny sister Georgia. Matt had a soft heart, and a loving one. His sister Georgia adored him while he was around.

    In school, Matt seemed to be very bright. He seemed to be gifted with getting his work and studying done quickly. Somehow, he never had homework or any studying to do, but got good grades. He was well liked by his teachers and did seem to get to know the principal, as did I, but not always for the best reasons.

    A family friend and teacher of Matts, Krista Heard, who is one of the nicest people we know in the world, described him in a card to us this week: “I remember him as one of the happiest, jovial, bright eyed, kind, compassionate, caring, hard working students I had the pleasure of teaching. His smile would literally light up the classroom. Matthew was a friend to all and had a heart of gold.”

    I asked family members while writing this did they have any ways they’d like to describe Matt. The following were a few of the words they chose: Influencing, persuasive, devious, twinkle in his eye, infectious smile, clever, gleaming, fun, made me laugh, and happy.

  4. At 15 and a freshman in high school, Matt started to experiment with drugs. Unfortunately he had the wrong genes for such an experiment, especially at such a young age, as addiction disease did run in both sides of his family. At first it was to party and to get a high. It was for fun. This began his struggle, as I watched the years pass while the grips of the disease dug deeper and deeper into him. Many asked me over the years, some of you are here now, “what drug did he get addicted to?” It was not like that. It wasn’t a drug that he took that made him physically addicted. Matt had addiction disease and would use many or any available drugs. This disease created a survival need in him to alter his natural state of mind to achieve an unreachable feeling. A vicious cycle developed where the more he used, the more he needed, the more his despair and self loathing grew, the deeper and further away he sank, and – the more he used. Countless times we tried to stop the spiral, and turn him in a different direction. Strategy after strategy, was tried, locally and in different parts of the country to change his environment as well as curtail this vicious cycle. We all missed him badly. He was too young to understand the lethal consequences of his problem, and when he did start to understand at a later age, he struggled to break free.

    I saw throughout these years the conflict in him between his deep unconditional love and trust for me, and love of his family, and his inability to free himself of this disease. He was not a bad person because he was an addict. He didn’t choose this. He was sick, not unlike someone with cancer. He suffered with this and accumulated a lot of wear and tear over the last couple of years. It seemed to be taking its toll. We admitted him to what I’d consider one of the best rehabs, Cornerstone, just a few weeks ago. He struggled, but he was doing well. Matt passed away in his sleep on May 10th, sober. No one knows why he died. Even with his past, it is not normal for someone at his age to suffer this outcome. This has been discussed a lot and with many in the last week. The only explanation seems to be – God wanted him. Possibly this was an act of compassion. All his family, mothers Paula his mom and Janice his stepmom, and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are very sad to lose him, but we have some peace in the fact that his suffering and struggle has ended. He is in a better place.

    I do not want to remember Matt for his struggle, but for how much he loved me and his family – when he could; I remember his love of the outdoors and the wonderful times we had together – on the ocean, in the dessert, or in the mountains; I remember his wonderful personality, his charisma, his sense of humor and infectious laugh which brought many smiles to many people while he was with us. I can say with no uncertainty that he gave me many more smiles and laughs in his life than tears. Till the very end I watched him care for and try to help others even though he could not do the same for himself. He is greatly loved, and greatly missed. God Bless You Matt. We love you. Thank you.
    Janice Sprague – May 21 at 09:05

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