Edwards Funeral Home

201 North 12th Street, Fort Smith, AR


MAJ. Matthew Ryan Liebal

August 8, 1985January 17, 2020
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Major Matthew Ryan Liebal, 34, of Fort Smith passed from this life January 17, 2020 in Fort Smith. He was born August 8, 1985, in New London, Connecticut to Dennis and Kathryn Worden Liebal.

In 2001, Matthew was awarded the Eagle Scout Badge. One of his community projects was organizing a road race to raise funds for a local food bank. Matthew was a graduate of Montville (CT) High School where he excelled in Track and Field, and was inducted in to the Montville Athletic Hall of Fame. Matthew completed his undergraduate degree, and continued to run at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. At Dickinson, Matthew earned All-American in 2005 in Cross Country, then again in 2007 in the 10,000 meters in track, where he broke the school record. In 2019 he was inducted in to the Dickinson Athletics Hall of Fame for his efforts on the track.

Also while at Dickinson, Matthew was actively involved in the ROTC Program, and after graduation was commissioned in the United States Army, where Matthew was twice deployed to Iraq. His service there earned him multiple decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal for his heroic achievement, and the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding service to the United States. Following his Honorable Discharge as Captain from the Army, Matthew continued his military career with the Arkansas Army National Guard where he recently achieved the rank of Major. Matthew furthered his education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and earned his MBA, with the Focus in Finance. With all that Matthew had accomplished, his most prized and treasured was his marriage to Jill and the birth of their son, Benjamin.

Matthew is survived by his wife, Jill; their son, Benjamin; his parents, Dennis and Kathryn Liebal; his twin sister, Heather Liebal and sister, Rebecca Liebal and her fiancé David Coffey; his paternal grandmother, Bernadette Liebal; his maternal grandmother, Virginia Ray and her husband Al; and maternal grandfather, Richard Worden. He also leaves behind his father and mother-in-law, John and Wanda Johnson; three brothers-in-law, Bryce Johnson and his wife Lindsay, and their children, Presley and Sloan, Dr. Trent Johnson and his wife Shayla and their children, Hadley and Ryland, and Grant Johnson and his wife Jennifer and their daughter, Ava; as well and numerous aunts, uncle, cousin and extended family. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Ray Liebal.

Funeral services will be 10:30 am Friday January 24, 2020 at First Baptist Church of Fort Smith. Burial will follow, with United States Army Honors, at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith. The family will greet friends from 5:00 to 7:00 pm Thursday January 23, 2020 at Edwards Funeral Home. Services are under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home.


  • Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Chad Quayle
  • Major John Chase
  • Mr. Colin Raunig (Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, 2007-2018)
  • Mr. Jason Blackston (Captain, US Army, 2005-2016)
  • Mr. Mark Hammer
  • Mr. Daniel Hobbs


  • Visitation Thursday, January 23, 2020
  • Funeral Service Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Burial with United States Army Honors Friday, January 24, 2020


MAJ. Matthew Ryan Liebal

have a memory or condolence to add?

Wanda Johnson

January 23, 2020

We don't know fully what it's like to be a soldier, unless you are a soldier. We don't know fully what it's like to be a widow, unless you are a widow. We don't know fully what it's like to lose a child unless you lost a child. We won't know the full presence of God, until we behold His glory. We can have hope. We can have faith. Ww can love. Oh Lord have mercy on us and forgive us our sins.

COL Jason and Mrs. Robin Kidder

January 23, 2020

We are deeply saddened to learn of Matt’s passing. We had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him during his 3-7 CAV Troop Command, Ft. Stewart, GA. We pray for peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Chesney McOmber

January 22, 2020

To the Liebals,
We are so saddened to hear of Matt's passing. We will always remember the funny and lovable person he was as our teammate and our friend. Whether its memories of him 'shifting gears' while accelerating around the track or pushing us harder in those hill workouts, these memories of Matt from our childhood will always bring a smile to our faces.

He was so loved by all who knew him, he will be missed by all of us.

You are all in our thoughts and in our hearts.

With all our love,
Chesney and Michael.

Alexander Madhuizen

January 22, 2020

Sending my heart full condolences and prayers to the Liebal family, I was fortunate enough to serve with Matt when I arrived to my first unit HHC 1-5 Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, TX. Then Captain Liebal, was responsible for a lot of impact in my growth as a soldier, and as an individual. He truly was a genuine character and an exceptional leader, I would always see him go out of his way to see how everyone was doing during our training exercises as well as our deployment to Tikrit, Iraq, I wanted Matt’s family to know that he made everyone’s day a little better when the times got tough, Black Knights, sir.

Colin Raunig

January 21, 2020

I was Matt's best man at his wedding and have known him since high school. He was a caring and passionate soul and always went out of his way to see how I was doing. I'll always remember our time together and our many road trips and conversations. I started a thread on a running website where I go into more detail about my relationship with Matt as well as offering a place where other runners can share their memories as well: https://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=9799205#9801589

Kathi Berry

January 21, 2020

The Greenwood Branch of First National Bank will be forever grateful to Matt for all the times he would help us out with whatever we needed. I will forever cherish the time I spent with him and the encouragement he was always giving me.
Jill and Ben are in our prayers and Matt will be missed tremendously❤

Linda and Eugene Lamie

January 21, 2020

Prayers for peace and comfort.

Mataio Nuualiitia

January 21, 2020

I had the privilege of serving under Captain Liebal during his time as Troop Commander at Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 7th US Cavalry Regiment down at Fort Stewart, GA. CPT Liebal was a fair and compassionate leader who always took time out of his day to check on the welfare and well-being of his Soldiers. I will be forever grateful for the time I spent aboard his crew as his driver and for the valuable lessons I learned from an exemplary leader. Thank you for helping me become the man I am today, Sir. Till we meet again.

Peter, Debbie and Family Ingoglia

January 20, 2020

Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.
Our deepest sympathies.
Love, Peter, Debbie Ingoglia & Family.

Rhonda Newton

January 20, 2020

Dear Jill, You probably don't remember me, but I remember you from my niece, Erin. There are no words to comfort you, but my prayer is that God's healing hand will see you through. Hugs.