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IMB worker in Philippines dies unexpectedly at 36

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines (BP)–A 36-year-old Southern Baptist worker in the Philippines died unexpectedly Sept. 18, apparently from an allergic reaction.
The worker, Berri Matz of Bixby, Okla., collapsed at home and was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in General Santos City. U.S. Embassy reports listed the cause of death as cardiac arrest due to asthma-induced aspiration.
A memorial service is scheduled at LaGao Baptist Church in General Santos City at 10 a.m. Sept. 20. Her body will then be flown to Manila, the Philippines’ capital city, where diplomatic papers will be processed, said Phil Beasley, business manager for the organization of International Mission Board personnel in the Mindanao and Visayan Islands region of the Philippines. It will then be brought back to Bixby for burial.
Matz and her husband, Larry, were appointed by the International Mission Board in June 1996. Matz was the mother of two children, ages 10 and 8, and had learned only weeks ago she was pregnant with a third.
The Matzes arrived last October in General Santos City on Mindanao, the southernmost of the Philippines’ two largest islands, to study language. They were to move soon to Cebu City, where he would be a church starter and she would be a church and home worker.
The former Berri Gayle Williams, she graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in special education in 1983. They married in 1981. Before their appointment, she had worked as a teacher in Marion, Ark., West Memphis, Ark., and Englewood, Ohio.