Dakota Matthews, an accomplished Portland barber at the popular Crow’s Nest Barbershop who was known for his signature bow ties, passion for hockey and love of life, died Sept. 9 from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was 27.

Matthews was remembered this week as a hard-working, kind and charismatic guy who had an impact on so many in his short life. And in his death, his legacy of love and positivity will live on.

Matthews was an organ donor. His heart and left kidney went to a man in his 40s. His liver and right kidney were donated to two men in need of life-saving transplants. Combined, Matthews saved three lives and helped many others through donations including his skin, cornea, blood vessels and bone tissue.

“It’s everything he would have wanted,” said his fiancé, Chandler Breton of Gray. “I know he’s so proud up there knowing he was able to go out and save people. Although the words were hard to hear and the thought process was hard to accept, I knew it’s what he would have wanted.”

Matthews was driving his purple 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle on the afternoon of Sept. 8 when he was struck by a BMW sedan operated by Jack Chellis of Falmouth near 91 Auburn St. in Portland. Matthews was transported to Maine Medical Center, where he died of his injuries. Portland Police Sergeant Eric Nevins said Thursday the accident is still under investigation.

Breton said Matthews’ hospital room overlooked the city’s William B. Troubh Ice Arena, where he played ice hockey every Monday.

“He’s been showing us signs that he’s here with all of us,” she said, sobbing. “I’m absolutely heartbroken. I’m scared. … He took such good care of me. People tell me I’m strong and will be OK in time. … I’m still in so much shock. I haven’t had a second to process the fact that he’s gone. I wish I would have married him. I wish I showed him my wedding dress. I wanted to, but he was such an old school gentleman. He wanted to wait, which I respected.”

The couple had planned to get married on July 11, but the wedding was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Breton said it was important to Matthews to have their families and friends by their side. The couple rescheduled their wedding to April 22, 2021, Earth Day.

Matthews was described by his fiancé this week as an early riser who cooked himself a five-star breakfast and played ice hockey before work.

“He was just a man that never wasted a moment of life …,” Breton said. “It’s how he lived every day. He never really got into a funk. He was always so positive. He was an extreme people pleaser, but in return it pleased him so much.”

Matthews was a well-known barber and business partner of the Crow’s Nest Barbershop in Portland and Windham. Recently, the business partners took over Goodfellas Barbershop in Westbrook. Matthews split his time cutting hair between the Portland and Westbrook barbershops.

Matthews graduated from Empire Beauty School in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in January 2011. Breton said he set the bar high for everyone in his class. She said every day he wore button-up shirts, nice shoes and his signature bowtie.

“Dakota was an attention-to-detail guy and really enjoyed the whole process of taking good care of people and making them feel confident,” Breton said. “I know he enjoyed it because he was a little on the OCD side. I love him for that whether it was loading our dishwasher or making sure every single hair on someone’s head was in the exact place it was supposed to be. That’s what really set him apart from everyone else. Everyone who sat in his chair felt very taken care of and very assured that Dakota was 100 percent confident in his work. When he wasn’t, I promise you it kept him up at night.”

Matthews grew up in Saco with dreams of being a rodeo cowboy. He was the son of Cathleen Melton and Mark Matthews, the second oldest of four boys. He also leaves a stepsister and half-sister. Breton said he was extremely close with his brothers and their tribe of friends, who are deeply grieving his loss.

Matthews had a lifelong passion for ice hockey. He was a standout on the varsity hockey team at Thornton Academy, where he graduated in 2011. He was awarded the prestigious, “Ronald R. Sevigny Hockey Prize.”

Breton broke down in tears Wednesday sharing memories of their life together. She said they were best friends for many years.

“From the second we met, we knew there was something, a connection between us that we couldn’t explain,” she said. “We were also still really young. I remember we never missed a second to be around each other. He would say, ‘I know you’re the one. I’m here when you’re ready.’ ”

Breton sobbed, recalling the moment she realized she loved him.

“I knew in my heart, I was ready for him,” she said. “It’s been five years of us living together and sharing amazing memories. Through our trust for each other, he blossomed into this beautiful man who could articulate everything. He wasn’t afraid to shout from the rooftops that he loved me so much. He changed my life as much as I changed his.

“We took on the world, we traveled as much as we could,” she continued. “We hiked three national parks in one year. We really never missed a second to seize every moment together big or small. He truly woke up every single day making sure I was taken care of. There was undeniable love between us.”

Matthews had a passion for the environment and worked tirelessly to reduce his carbon footprint. Breton said they dreamed of living on a homestead and changing the world. She said they talked every day about having enough kids to start a hockey team.

As Breton and his family talked with doctors about donating Matthews’ organs, the question was raised whether doctors could save his sperm for Breton.

“So, we can still have our babies,” Breton said. said. “Everybody who knew us knew that we couldn’t wait for the day to start a family. Everyone wants a piece of him to live on, including me. I know he will guide me through that journey when the time comes. It goes to show the extent of our love and plans for the future. I’m going to live every single day in his honor.”

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