‘He’s going to be missed by everybody’: Family remembers 19-year-old train conductor killed in railyard accident in east Harris County

Matthew was a train conductor. He died while trying to guide a train out of the railyard in East Harris County. An 18-wheeler tried to cross the tracks at the same time, pinning Matthew between the train and the semi-truck.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Matthew Pfister was beloved by the community and an athlete on his high school’s football team. His life was cut too short.

Matthew was a train conductor. He died while trying to guide a train out of the railyard in East Harris County. An 18-wheeler tried to cross the tracks at the same time, pinning Matthew between the train and the semi-truck.

Matthew’s family is heartbroken.

His grandfather, Kenneth had too many good things to say about a young man who was described as hardworking, smart, and quiet.

He loved football and was fascinated with trains.

“He was loved and missed. He’s going to be missed by everybody,” Kenneth Marcum said.

Kenneth says it’s hard to describe how he feels.

“One day you’ve got a bubbly 19-year-old that’s full of life and energy and the next minute someone calls you and says there’s been an accident and he’s dead,” Marcum said.

Matthew was just 19-year-old. He graduated from Alvin High School in June and was on the football team. His grandfather says he had a passion for trains.

“His grandmother took him to a Hallmark shop and there was a Thomas train set up. He played with the set and after that he was hooked,” Kenneth said.

From there, Matthew’s passion for trains grew even bigger. His grandfather says he owned ever train magazine and had a train simulator set up in his room.

“He always talked about wanting to be an engineer that’s all he really dreamed of. He graduated on a Wednesday, and he had a job working at Watco on Thursday that was his dream.”

After 4 months on the job at Watco, Matthew was tragically killed while working early Friday morning.

“I was giving blood and platelets at the time. I was already hooked up and had been doing it for about a half hour when my daughter called me and said ‘Hey Matthew has been killed.’ It was like, I’m giving blood for someone else to live and my grandson had just died,” Kenneth said.

Matthew was a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin who had big plans to continue working on trains.

His life was taken too soon.

“Can’t say anything about him other than he was a good kid. He’s really going to be missed. It’s going to be hard. You drive up to a railroad crossing or see a train and you’re going to think about Matthew,” Marcum said.

Marcum says they’ve received love and support from the community.

He says Watco is taking care of the funeral arrangements. Matthew worked at Home Depot and the company has provided dinner for his family every night.

Matthew leaves behind a mother, father, two young sisters and several other family members.


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Emmy award winning journalist born and raised in Alabama. College football fanatic and snow cone lover! Passionate about connecting with the community to find stories that matter.