Matt Syler, beloved father, grandfather, and great grandfather passed from this world into eternal life on Saturday, November 9, 2013. Matt was 86 years old.
Born to Monnie Lou Glimp Syler and Hubert Syler on January 27, 1927, Matt was raised primarily in Buda and Chimney Springs, Texas, and the surrounding areas before joining the United States Navy where he became a Corpsman near the end of World War II. He received the American Theatre Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Sharpshooter Tag. Afterward, Matt pursued his dream of working on a ranch in Wyoming. While sending money home to his mother and younger siblings, he worked at the Stephenson Ranch in Tie Siding. While working on the Wyoming ranch, Matt learned a lesson he said he would never forget – “how to tell what a cow was about to do” – a lesson he used for the remainder of his life.
When he returned home to Texas, he began his studies at Texas A&M University earning his degree in 1951 in Animal Husbandry and Agronomy. He was a member of the Texas A&M Rodeo Team and competed at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1950. During the summers at A&M, Matt worked at the Lazy H Ranch near Kerrville, Texas, where he met his wife Gloria Ann Reeves, and the two married in 1950.
After graduating from A&M, Matt and Ann worked for Herman and LeNan Gardner managing Willow Springs Ranch for 21 years. It was at Willow Springs that Matt was able to live out his passion of working with cattle and growing coastal Bermuda grass while making a name for himself as an honest, trustworthy, and knowledgeable cattleman. Matt joined IBBA in 1951 and was a founding member of the Texas Brangus Breeders Association (TBBA) in 1956. He later served as TBBA secretary from 1958 to 1966 and served on the association’s Board of Directors for nine years. In 1971 Matt began his own ranching operation and sales management business, Syler Sales Management. He managed the first International Brangus Sale, founded the Sealy Bull Sale and was also instrumental in launching the first Houston junior show.
Matt was honored during his lifetime with many awards. He received multiple honors from his Brangus Breeders family but the highest honors were his 2000 Brangus Breeder of the Year and 2009 Pioneer Brangus Breeder awards. He was the Secretary of the Brangus Breeders Association for eight years and served two terms as a director of the International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA). Matt volunteered at the Brenham Memorial Hospital, volunteered as a reader for a Brenham elementary school, and was a Bread Partner volunteer for several years distributing bread to the needy of Washington County. He was also proud of his title, “Tale Twister” for the Lions Club of Burton. In addition, he was an original member of both the Beef Cattle Short Course and Washington County Wildlife Society. He was also involved in the Walk to Emmaus group for many years, ministering to countless others about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Matt and Ann had four children: Lee Bentley, Jeb Stuart, Melanie Ann, and Darla Ann. Both Ann and Bentley preceded Matt in death, as did his sister, Peggy, and brothers Scott and Jim. Jeb and wife Alma live in Richmond, Va.; Melanie and husband, Tim, live in McKinney, Texas; and Darla and husband, Candido, live in Richmond, Texas. Matt’s grandchildren include Tanya Syler Thomas (husband Jarred and children Taylor, Jace, and Adrianna); Matthew Syler III (sons Daylon and Payne); Cori Willett; Chase Willett; Bentley Syler II; Chris Syler (wife Claudia and son Lucas); Kevin Syler; Ana Maria Syler; Lindsie Gibson (husband Mitch and twin sons Connor and Colton); Jamie Pagan (daughters Haylie, Maykayla, Heather, and Allysa); and Chelsie Pagan; and one great-great granddaughter, Maya. Other family members include Martha Syler of Athens, Texas; Silvia Syler of Bolivia; and Dilia Syler of Houston. In addition, extended family includes the Cerda Family who has been an important part of the Syler family since 1957 – Maria, Maggie, Elva, Cerjio, and Abel.
Visitation was November 12, 2013, at Brenham Memorial Chapel, and funeral services were November 13, 2013, at Brenham’s First Baptist Church with Rev. Troy Sikes officiating. Interment followed at the Val Verde Baptist Cemetery in Milam County. The family has asked memorials be given to The Wounded Warrior Fund or Washington County Wildlife Society.