HARTWICK — Matthew “MattRat” Donald Kepner, 49, passed away at home after a long battle with cancer Monday morning, July 6, 2015.
Proud to be a native son of Cooperstown, Matt was born at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital on May 8, 1966. He was the son of George S. Kepner, Jr., a retired Otsego County Surrogate Court Judge, and Ethel Suzanne Noakes Kepner.
He grew up as an active boy in Fly Creek, where he became affectionately known as “MattRat.” In his youth he was involved with the Boy Scouts, including trips to Order of the Arrow Conferences and National Boy Scout Jamborees in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. He often recalled the times that he spent at the Camp Henderson, the Boy Scout camp on Crumhorn Mountain in Maryland.
At a young age, Matt began working in local restaurant establishments where he learned the details of the business. Meeting and befriending locals and travelers alike, Matt’s friendly and unique personality made him a fixture in the community.
After graduating from Cooperstown Central School with the Class of 1985, he pursued his creative side and attended The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
He later returned to the local area, spending much time in Farkel Park socializing and watching the world around him.
Some of Matt’s fondest memories were the times he shared with his friends at “Chicken Farm” in Cooperstown. Everyone who knew him had a “MattRat” story.
Matt, with his best friend and partner, Tassha, traveled extensively throughout the U.S, with a favorite destination of Walt Disney World in Florida, where visiting the Haunted Mansion was always a priority. He loved all things Disney, rock ‘n’ roll and art of all forms. Matt was also a homemaker and later a loving stay-at-home dad for his son, Taylor.
Matt is survived by his long-time partner, Tassha Rathbone, and their 4-year-old son, Taylor Sanford Kepner, whom he greatly adored, of Hartwick; his brother, Christian T. Kepner of Cooperstown; a step-sister, Rachael R. Demsker, and her husband, Robert, and their son, Theodore, of Pepper Pike, Ohio; a step brother, Jay Crossman and his wife, Danya, and their children, Hunter and Lauren, of Oneonta; and his step mother, Claire A. Kepner, of Fly Creek. He is further survived by Tassha’s family, including her mother, Sherlee Rathbone and partner George Anzelone, sister Tabetha Rathbone and husband George Crippen, brother Shad Rathbone and partner Nancy Croft, and brother Tavish Rathbone, along with many other nieces and nephews, extended family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Suzanne N. Kepner, who died December 28, 1988, and his father, George S. Kepner, Jr., who died Oct. 30, 1993.
It was Matt’s wish that there be no formal funeral or memorial service or calling hours.
Instead, there will be a Celebration of Life for “MattRat” at 11 a.m., with the “Dedication of Life” at noon on Saturday, July 25, 2015, at the Forest of Dozen Dads, 325 Blacks Road, in the town of Middlefield.
For those who wish to remember Matt with a memorial gift, please consider donating to Taylor Kepner @ Community Bank or by visiting GoFundMe.com/yuuwe6p
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  July 16, 2015