Matthew Bartolich

Chances are, you know a funny story about Matthew, known as Matt to most, and you can’t help but crack a smile. Whether he was telling a joke, pulling a prank on someone – favorite targets in his youth being his younger brother and sister – or just interjecting one of his clever, witty comments, you couldn’t help but laugh.  You also didn’t need to know that he graduated number one in his class from the Kansas City, KS, police academy and was its top marksman, was one of the nation’s elite in Judo from the age of 7-13, dominating the Midwest region, qualifying for the nationals virtually every year, usually finishing in the top five and finishing third at the YMCA Nationals in New Orleans in 1972, had also earned a black belt in Tai Kwan Do, or earned a spot in the Army’s elite Special Forces, to know Matt had many unique and special talents.

For those closest to him, you knew Matt was an onion. Peel back the layers and you’d see a highly intelligent, caring, complicated, fierce, kind, proud, competitive, and passionate man. Whether it was the adolescent Matt taking down the first American to (eventually) win an Olympic medal at the Judo nationals, or many years later the police officer Matt chasing taking down a suspect while a ferocious dog had his teeth buried into his leg, Matt was a fighter. Yet, his wife, Cindy, speaks of the compassionate, selfless Matt, who often gave to others when he had virtually nothing of his own to give. She also mentions that not a day went by that Matt didn’t miss or speak of his children and the concern, love and pride he had for them. And if you ever had the opportunity to engage Matt in a conversation about politics, sports, world events, or if you could have been a fly on the wall during one of his doctor’s appointments, you were no doubt drawn to his intelligence, thoughtfulness, insightfulness and colorful opinions.
There were times when Matt may have seemed overly protective. However Matt’s experience with the Police Force and Military made him aware of dangers that lurk about. His utmost concern was to empower friends and those he loved with the ability to protect themselves.
None of this should come as a surprise because Matt was born in Alliance, Ohio, and raised with a strong Midwest work ethic in Kansas City and Lexington, Mo., where he graduated from high school in 1980. And while he spent the last few years of his life facing his toughest competitors ever, multiple orthopedic injuries which he sustained in the line of duty, a diseased Pancreas and Diabetes, rest assured Matt fought like no other to his final breath.
Be at peace that Matt is in the presence of God, probably instructing the Arc Angels in proper Judo technique. He is once again standing next to his father, Rudy, and he’s smiling down on all his friends and family, including his wife Cindy, his children Zachary and Ali, his mother, Joni, his sister Stacy, his brother, Kurt, and his beloved cats, Bear and Dreyfus. And when you look up to the Heavens in remembrance of him, smile back, because Matt is finally at peace.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 11:00 am at Antioch Family Worship Center, 5201 Antioch, Overland Park, Kansas, interment to follow at 2:30 pm at Leavenworth National Cemetery.  If you’d like to pay tribute to Matt, in lieu of flowers, you can make a donation to the American Diabetes Association in his name. Log on to and click on the “Memorial Donation” tab at the bottom of the page.


  1. Mike Schofield on April 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I hope the entire Bartolich family will accept my most sincere condolences. I was sorry to learn of Matt’s passing. I will always remember him as a good friend and someone who was very kind to me.

  2. Dan and Trish Coleman on April 6, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    We are praying for you as you grieve the loss of your precious husband, brother, son, and father. May God comfort you in your time of great sorrow.

  3. Teresa Taylor Green on April 7, 2009 at 7:48 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Although I had not seen Matt in some 20 years, it doesn’t make me less saddened. The loss of a brother and loved one is alwys difficulty. My you find peace.

  4. Moses Toledo on April 7, 2009 at 8:44 am

    My deepest condolences to the Bartolich family. I attended the KCKPD Academy with Matt and still chuckle at some of the witty comments he made, the way he would mimic some of the instructors and of how much he used to excessively worry about an upcoming exam! Thanks for the memories and Rest in Peace.

  5. Allen Foley on April 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Please accept my sincere condolences to the entire family. Kurt, my freind, if there is anything you need just let me know.

  6. Victor Webb on April 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I attended the police academy and graduated with Matthew in 1989. I remember the unfortunate injuries he received shortly after we entered field training and the unfortuanate set-backs it caused him. That was 20 years ago. Life is full of twist, turns, and the unexpected. Matt was a great guy. I pray God’s blessings upon all his friends and family during your time of bereivement.

  7. Jakob House on April 7, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Barf….keep ya head up. Lemme know if there is anything that I can do. Ya boy’s got ya back. To the rest of the Fam, my heart goes out to ya’ll.

  8. Linda Clark Kreie on April 8, 2009 at 9:42 am

    It is with deep sadness that I learn about the loss of a close high school friend. Matt and I graduated from Lexington High School in 1980. He and I ran in the same crowd. We lost a close friend, Larry Stapleton, in 1981 and I remember Matt’s mom telling us “God must have really need him in heaven to have taken him so soon”. I remember that to this today and feel this must also be true of Matt. I haven’t seen Matt for many year but I always treasured the friendship we had. It sound like he left his mark on the hearts of many. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Judy and Ron Dickmeyer on April 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Words can’t say how very sorry we are to hear about the loss of Matt. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I have sent the information to Cristy,she never forgot him.

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