(Updated at 1 p.m. on October 22) Matthew Ian Gillette, a pastor and well-regarded community advocate, died suddenly on Tuesday morning, October 19.
He was 39 years old, and the cause of death has not been released.
Gillette, who lived in the city’s Lynnhaven neighborhood, is survived by his wife, Abby, and their young daughter.
“Just a tragic loss,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “Matt was someone with a deep and abiding faith, who saw his mission to help his community. We will miss him so much.”
“Matt was a quiet, selfless force in our community,” said Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. “My heart aches for his young family.”
“It’s not just about putting something on a plate, but more about having a place where people can feel like they have a sense of community,” Gillette said of the Alexandria Gratitude Table in 2019.
Notes of shock and grief have also poured in through social media.
“For anyone who was blessed and lucky enough to know Matthew Ian Gillette, you know how unbelievable and devastating the news of his passing is to our community,” wrote Del Ray’s Gayle Reuter. “Whenever and wherever he saw a need, he was there to fill it.”
A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $4,000 to support Gillette’s family.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA