SHARPSVILLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Matthew Lawrence Perna died on Friday, February 25, 2022 of a broken heart. His community, which he loved, his country and the justice system killed his spirit and his zest for life. Matt was an amazing man! In his 37 years, he experienced more than most people do their entire lives.

He graduated from Sharpsville High School in 2002, then went on to graduate from Penn State University.

Matt loved to travel and lived in Thailand and South Korea during his life, teaching English to school children.

He traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, South America, India and the United States of America making lasting friendships everywhere he went. He went on a mission trip to Haiti and also took many trips with his parents and brother Steve. Matt enjoyed conversing with all walks of life, especially the elderly. It was not unusual for him to strike up conversations with complete strangers, always eager to learn from others.

Matt enjoyed running long distance races and held medals from several states. He enjoyed reading every day and owned an extensive library of books. He loved music of all types and played piano and saxophone. He was an adventurer who loved trying different cuisines from all over the world and experiencing as many different cultures as he could.

Matt loved animals, especially dogs but when a sickly kitten made her way onto Matt’s porch, he nurtured and cared for her and named her Hinoki. He loved her dearly and she was his roommate.

He attended the rally on January 6, 2021 to peacefully stand up for his beliefs. After learning that the FBI was looking for him, he immediately turned himself in. He entered the Capitol through a previously opened door (he did not break in as was reported), where he was ushered in by police. He didn’t break, touch or steal anything. He did not harm anyone, as he stayed within the velvet ropes taking pictures. For this act he has been persecuted by many members of his community, friends, relatives and people who had never met him. Many people were quietly supportive and Matt was truly grateful for them. The constant delays in hearings and postponements dragged out for over a year. Because of this, Matt’s heart broke and his spirit died and many people are responsible for the pain he endured. Matt did not have a hateful bone in his body. He embraced people of all races, income brackets and beliefs, never once berating anyone for having different views.

Matt is survived by his loving father, Lawrence of Sharpsville; his brother, Steven of Nederland, Colorado; his grandmother, Rosie Garzoni of Hermitage and several aunts, uncles and cousins, who will never stop missing him.

He was preceded in death by his amazing mother Roni; his grandparents, Henry and Millie Perna, as well as his grandfather, Frank J. Garzoni. Matt had a very special relationship with Frank J. who he greatly admired and missed very much.

Matt attended Central Community Church in Transfer, Pennsylvania. He was a Christian who read his Bible daily.

Matt’s family stood by him during this devastating ordeal and are extremely proud of his passion for life and his pursuit of many dreams. His actions last year are not looked down upon, instead his family is grateful and humbled by his courage. They say God never gives anyone more than they can handle. That statement is not Biblical, nor is it true. Rest Easy Matt, you are finally FREE!

Calling hours will be 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 1, 2022 and again from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 2, at John Flynn Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 2630 East State Street, Hermitage, PA 16148. There will be a funeral service at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 2, at the funeral home.

To send a flower arrangement to the family of Matthew Lawrence Perna, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

A television tribute will air Tuesday, March 1 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.