Todd Lee Hartlein was born on May 26, 1967, at McDonald Army Hospital, Fort Eustis, Virginia, during the Vietnam War. Todd attended elementary and junior high school in Matthews, Missouri. His high school years were at the New Madrid County Reorganized School District. During his school years he played football and wrestled, and he would always have several of his friends come over with their vehicles so he could install the electronics their parents gave them for Christmas.
Todd was gifted with many talents; mechanics was one that would provide his living. One of the farmers many years ago told me that Todd was one of the best mechanics in southeast Missouri. The first job he had was working at the Ford Motor Company in Sikeston, Missouri. He loved being outside. He later took a job with Nelson Equipment putting together spray rigs and also going to the farmer’s field to repair their equipment. His last job was at Noranda Aluminum in Marston, Missouri, which provided product nationwide. He was one of the last foremen to have a working crew before the plant shut down.
Todd has a daughter, Cassidy Laine Hartlein. He and Cassie’s favorite thing to do was go down the country roads listening and singing to music on the radio. He never met a stranger and was very involved in the community. Matthews was where he planted his feet while here on this earth. He loved his small town. During Christmas the last few years, he would play Santa for the school and the rest of the community.
Besides the community he loved so dearly, he leaves behind his daughter, Cassidy; mother, Linda Roberts and stepdad, Lin Roberts; brother, Christopher, and his wife, Shelly; and his nephew, Carson. So many people miss Todd, and I have been told Matthews isn’t the same without him.
At the age of 16, he decided to be a volunteer fireman. Whenever the alarm sounded he was always ready; whether it was a fire, accident, or medical, he was with his brothers helping someone in need. We all knew this was his calling, without a doubt, to go and help those in need.
On August 23, 2016, he went with his brothers to help with an accident, not knowing this would be his last opportunity to help someone in need. Within hours, his family, brothers, and friends would receive the word that his work on earth had ended. Brokenhearted, we knew he had gained his wings with God. He will sit by his side and watch over us until we take our last ride.