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Matthew Leydens, age 92, passed away Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Matt was born September 7, 1927 in Monroe, Iowa to Conrad and Bessie (DeJong) Leydens. He was the fifth of nine children. He graduated from Newton High School in 1947 where he was active in football and track. He married Marilyn Louise (Anderson) Leyden. He served his country in the Navy during WWII by patrolling in a PT boat off the coast of California as a machinist's mate first class. It was during this time that he saw SCUBA divers and became intrigued by it so much he took one of the first classes ever offered in the US to become a SCUBA instructor in 1958.

Matt started Leydens Dive Shop in the basement of his house and built the business, incorporating 6 other divisions that all had high pressure gas as a common theme. Syflo Company was a home delivery service for carbonated water in very fancy antique bottles pressurized by CO2. They expanded into fire extinguisher services - he and Matt Louis, his son, became certified technicians for fire extinguisher inspections and repairs. They were also versed in hydrostatic testing - the high pressure test used to certify high pressure cylinders for SCUBA, SCBA, medical, welding, and fire extinguishers. For a while, they ran the SCUBA Travel agency. Although short lived, Marilyn ran the travel part of the SCUBA business for several years. They would have a trip for divers monthly to some place in the world or the United States. They also ran a specialized retail store for SCUBA equipment and snorkeling supplies and later on cave diving. During the floods of 1993, the Army Corp of Engineers needed help with local divers in the Water Works Plant and the rivers inspecting the bridges. Matt invested in commercial hard hat dive gear and gave support to the Army Corp of Engineers and kept his hardhat diving going for years later. Matt was certified to work on breathing apparatus that were used by Firemen (SCBA) and he was able to use the same equipment and testing requirements from the SCUBA side on the fire department side of breathing apparatus. Matt taught SCUBA diving for over 65 years in central Iowa. He was well known. He took divers to all corners of the world to dive and explore other cultures. He enjoyed his work. He kept diving until he was 88.

Matt was a 32 degree Mason. He and Marilyn have been members of West Des Moines United Methodist Church since 1955. All of their children were baptized and confirmed in that church.

Matt is survived by his wife of 69 years Marilyn Leydens, his son Matthew Louis (with Snickers the Cat), his daughters Connie (Douglas) Maxwell and Jane (Dennis) Whitney, five grandchildren, four great grandchildren, his sisters Ruth Hulse and Nellie Riley, and his brothers Frank Leydens and John Leydens. He was preceded in death by his parents Conrad and Bessy Leydens, sister Lillian May, and his brothers Richard Leydens, Clarence Leydens, and Nicholas Leydens.

The only thing more that Matt loved over diving was his wife. He was devoted and caring and concerned about her until his dying breath. She was there by his side when he passed.

It is our hope that services can be held in August 2020. Matt wanted everyone to have a chance to spend time together and talk about diving adventures.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be directed to the family in loving memory of Matt for a future designation.

Condolences may be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.

Service Details

Service:
August Service Anticipated
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa
Disposition:
Burial of Cremated Remains
Iowa Veterans Cemetery
Adel, Iowa
Arrangements:
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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