On December 29, 2020, Matthew Zalnasky, loving son of Jacqueline and Mitchell, and amazing older brother to Jennifer, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 53. Matt was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Marlborough, MA, but proudly called Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada his hometown. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Genetics from the University of Manitoba and received scholarship offers from several Ivy League Schools for graduate school. He eventually chose Harvard University, where his received his Master’s degree after several years of performing research in virology. He then began a lengthy career in the field of Information Technology at Investors Bank & Trust and later at State Street Bank.
Matt excelled at everything related to science and computers, but his real passion was history, specifically the Civil War. He visited the Gettysburg National Military Park many times, including most recently to celebrate his 50th birthday. Despite visiting most of the Civil War battlefields and reading nearly every book published about the war, he never failed to learn something new when he was at a battlefield park and loved sharing all the details of every battle with anyone who would listen. Matt’s passion for military history was not limited to the Civil War. He was also well-versed in both World War I and II and took a special interest in learning about the involvement of the Canadian military in these wars.
Matt loved to travel throughout the United States and Europe. He often let Jenn tagalong on these adventures. Together, they sought out all the local historic sites, visited numerous museums and monuments, took in local sporting events, rode roller coasters, and explored many off-the-beaten-path locations. There was never a shortage of laughter and learning during these trips. Needless to say—sitting on a beach and relaxing was rarely in his itinerary.
Matt also loved hockey—playing and watching. Like most Canadian kids, he started playing as soon as he could fit into skates and continued to play in recreational leagues even when he was one of the “old guys” on the team. Matt was a great team player and the Captain of many Saugus Hockey Town teams. His teammates will miss his passion on the ice, even though he was never the fastest skater! His favorite team was the Winnipeg Jets and he followed them from the time he was a little boy right through the 2020 “pandemic” post-season. He always thought they were underappreciated and underrated. His loyalty was fierce even when they were not winning. Maybe this will finally be the year they raise the Stanley Cup! Go Jets Go!
Matt was brilliant and was always reading. His favorite books were the Lord of the Rings series and he collected several versions of them throughout his life, but still had the first set he bought as a kid on his very full bookcase. Through his love of reading and learning, he easily became an expert in so many areas. Some of his favorites included: politics, history, military, science, pop culture, football (Pittsburgh Steelers), baseball (Boston Red Sox), model building (tanks and military airplanes), photography, baking bread (long before it became trendy), cooking, wine, craft beer, and so many more. His interests and curiosity knew no bounds. He would readily admit that he knew more “useless information” that anybody rightfully should. But, the best part about Matt was that he always wanted to share his knowledge. He truly believed that everybody was interested in learning about the same topics as him—no matter how obscure or strange. Matt was kind, thoughtful, compassionate and had a great sense of humor. He touched the lives of many through school, work, and his many hobbies. He will be missed by everyone who met him.
At Matt’s request, no formal funeral service will be held. Donations may be made in Matt’s memory to: The Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at www.thejimmyfund.org/gift or P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284; the MSPCA-Angell Kindness and Care for Animals at www.mspca.org or 350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130 Attn: Donations; or the National Park Foundation at www.nationalparks.org.
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