Matt Johnson 'loved the Lord and lived by example to others'

Matt Johnson with his wife, Jackie, and their children. - Johnson family photo
Matt Johnson with his wife, Jackie, and their children.
— image credit: Johnson family photo

Matt Johnson, son of Kerwin and Margaret Johnson and son-in-law of Rick and Karen King, has passed away.

His wife, Jackie, announced on the family's Web site that he took his last breath at 3:16 p.m. Thursday. He was 35.

He had been moved to ICU at University of Washington Medical Center earlier this week to undergo kidney dialysis to remove extra fluid he was retaining because of kidney failure.

"I was laying with him in his hospital bed. He was so peaceful. Our last few minutes alone together I will cherish in my heart and mind forever," Jackie wrote on

"Matt's miracle was not the miracle that we had so desired, but IS the miracle of eternal life. He was quiet in his faith, but loved the Lord and lived by example to others. He was a man of integrity and well respected by all that knew him. He is now disease free and with God.

"He would have never chosen to leave us so soon. Our desire was to raise our children and grow old together. My heart is so heavy and the pain is beyond any words that I can come up with. I struggle to make sense of it, but am just so thankful for the life we shared together. He was a gift to me from above.

"Thank you for all the prayers and support. And ... thank you for walking this journey with us."

Matt grew up in Friday Harbor, attended local schools, and was a self-employed electrician living in Lake Stevens. He and his wife have four young children: Dustin, twins Jordyn and Taylor, and Tesa.

Matt's medical battle was the subject of a May 24 fund-raiser on San Juan Island to help defray the $296,000 needed for a stem cell transplant. At the time, Matt was diagnosed with an aggressive form of myelodysplastic syndrome; it progressed into a rare form of leukemia.

On Tuesday afternoon, Matt was resting in stable but serious condition in the ICU, where doctors were working to keep his body from shutting down. His battle generated prayers from coast to coast and more than 1,000 visitors to his online guestbook.

"Without being able to lean on the Lord to sustain us, we would be emotional basket cases right now," his father-in-law Rick King said Tuesday.

King spoke of the power of the prayers being offered for his daughter and her family.

"Jackie feels the love and the support of the prayer support ... It's basically what gets us through," he said. "Right now we're in the middle of a storm. Jackie just needs to be strong and we need to be strong for each other. That doesn't mean we don't have emotions. It doesn't mean we don't cry. It means we have faith and we have faith in eternity."

To sign the Johnsons' guestbook, click here.

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