Garrett Matthias, 5, writes unforgettable obituary before dying of cancer

A 5-year-old central Iowa boy had a lot of spunk, personality and grit.

His favorite colors were blue, red, black and green. His favorite superheroes were Batman, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Cyborg.

He called himself Garrett Michael Boofias, or the Great Garrett Underpants, and he loved to play with his sister, his blue bunny, “thrash metal,” Legos, his friends at day care.

But he also hated pants, the monkey nose “that smells like cherry farts,” needles.

Oh, and “dirty stupid cancer.”

Garrett Matthias, of Van Meter, knew he was going to die because of aforementioned “dirty stupid cancer.”

So he wrote his own obituary — full of ambitious remarks but also honest realities of life and death.

Garrett died July 6 after suffering from a rare form of pediatric cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a malignant tumor in the temporal bone of the head and in the ear.

His parents, Emilie and Ryan Matthias, learned that his tumor was treatment resistant and his rounds of radiation would come to an end because “there’s nothing they can do for him.”

They said Garrett never lost his sense of humor and loved to tease the doctors and nurses at the hospital. He was a mastermind of pranks, from whoopy cushions to sneaking clothespins on clothes to “hazing” interns and new staff doctors.

Garrett was able to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional boxer when he visited the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.


“We started a bucket list, and one of the things he wanted to do was be a boxer when he grew up,” said Garrett’s mother, Emilie Matthias, as tears filled her eyes.

Those who knew Garrett say he taught everyone how to get up, fight back and appreciate every day.

His obituary is now getting nationwide attention. Maybe it’s because he requested five bouncy houses (because he’s 5), Batman and snow cones for a celebration of life instead of a funeral because “funerals are sad.”


Maybe it’s because he wanted to be cremated “like when Thor’s Mommy died.” He wanted to be made into a tree “so I can live in it when I’m a gorilla.”

Maybe it’s because he said he’s going to be a gorilla when he dies and “throw poo at Daddy!”

Or maybe it’s because a little boy, who had so much positivity and heart, left such a profound impact on the world in such a short time frame.


“With each passing hour, there are small windows of opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need,” a Facebook post from the Iowa League of Heroes read. “Garrett made a difference in the life of this caped crusader. Rest now my friend. You fought well.”

He is survived by his mother, father, siblings and “Stinky Uncle Andy.”

His parents will honor Garrett’s final wishes by having a celebration of life from 5-11 p.m. Saturday at their home at 2377 132nd Court in Van Meter. (Note: Symbolic Asgardian burial ceremony and fireworks will be held just after sunset.)


A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. To donate, click here.

As Garrett said, “See ya later, suckas!”

Read the full obituary here.


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