We Remember

ORTT, Matthew Lawrence

December 5, 1986 — April 27, 2024

It is with heavy hearts and sadness that we must announce the sudden passing of Matthew Ortt at the age of 37.

Matthew was born in Kelowna, BC to parents Denise Geis and Lawrence Ortt and lived his life in Kelowna until about 16 years old, when his illness began to take hold. He was in and out of hospitals and various institutions over the next couple of years, plus a nine-year stay at Colony Farms Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam, BC. Matthew suffered from severe schizophrenia. No matter what hospital or care facility he was in, there was always a push to release him by the Psychiatrists and their mental health teams. We pleaded and begged and fought many times for them to keep him. Sometimes they extended his stay, but in the end always released him. Some people need to be in an institutional setting, and Matthew needed that kind of structure and constant care. British Columbia has no such Institution.

To say our Mental Health Care System is inadequate would be an understatement.

Matthew died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at a bus stop on the streets of Kamloops, BC. We had always known that this could be the eventual outcome for him, as has been for so many people with mental illness who self-medicate with alcohol and drugs in order to feel “normal” and fit in.

There were happier times earlier in Matt’s life, like when Mom brought home his baby sister Katriana. Matthew beamed from ear to ear as he held her, and he quickly slid into the role of big brother. Of course, he sometimes acted annoyed when little Katri would tug on his pant leg… “Carry me, Brother” …but he always accommodated with a big smile. He loved hanging with his family, especially with his cousins David, Andrea, Mitchell, and good friend, Johnson, who were always so kind to him.

Matt played Little League Baseball and Minor Hockey for many years and always had a contingent of parents/grandparents to cheer him on. Matt was a lucky little fella and was very well travelled at a young age. He enjoyed many fun trips with Mom along with her family, and numerous trips with Dad and the Colvin family. He even experienced a Caribbean Cruise with Grandpa Ken and Stephanie, as well as weekends snowmobiling at Grandpa Ken’s cabin. We often reminisce about the trip to Disneyland with Dad/Brenda and the Colvin family. We’re not sure who had more fun, the parents, or the kids, but we all agree that we never saw Matthew have so much fun or laugh so hard!

Matthew loved animals, any animals, especially the family dogs at his Mom’s and at his Dad’s. Matthew loved music and was subjected to lots of 70s & 80s tunes that he and his cousins would dance to.

Matthew was highly intelligent and caring, and he never said a bad word about anyone.

We will be forever thankful for our large extended families and good friends who supported us through the tumultuous times.

Matthew is survived by his mother, Denise Geis; sister, Katriana Witham (Cole); father, Lawrence Ortt (Brenda Colvin); step-grandmother, Stephanie Taylor; uncles: Colin Geis, Alastair Geis, Glen Ortt (Susan), and Larry Colvin (Lois); aunts: Brenda Huber (Don), Dianne Ortt (Steve Klimuk), Lois Buckland (Frank), and Gloria Finch (Warren); as well as his cousins: Justin Finch (Daygen), Eric Finch (Sanja), Kristy Goertz (Gary), Aaron Samson (Leslie), Julia Samson, David Ortt (Rachael), Jacob Ortt (Brittany), Erica Ortt (John), Andrea Colvin, Mitchell Colvin (Kelsey), Jarel Geis, Shantelle Huber, and Brianna Huber.

Matthew was predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Sheila Geis and Dr. Ken Geis (Stephanie), and his paternal grandparents, Len and Klara Ortt.

We invite family and friends to join us for an informal gathering on SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2024, at 2:00 pm, located at SPRINGFIELD FUNERAL HOME FAMILY CENTRE, 2020 Springfield road, Kelowna, BC.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to remember Matthew in your own way, and to always say, “I Love You”, to the important people in your life.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area call “Condolences”.

SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2024, at 2:00 pm


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