Immanuel "Manny" Matz was born April 5, 1941, in Tel Aviv. At the time, Palestine, then still under British rule, was being torn apart by WWII. He immigrated to the U.S. at age 15 and lived with his family in New York City. In 1959, he met the love of his life, Bea Cohen, at Camp Cejwin in the Catskills where both were summer counselors.
Manny went to school at NYU and later Adelphi, soaking in the music of Art Blakey at Birdland and Bob Dylan in the Village. He enlisted in the US Army in 1963, serving in the Finance Corps. He later joined his father's company, Matco (now Matco-Norca of Brewster, NY), and went on to enhance the business exponentially, traveling the world to bring in new vendors and clients as its VP and head of sales. He moved his family to Somers in 1973, and his wife Bea was an art teacher at Somers High School for many years as well as a docent at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
His childhood love of competitive biking developed into a greater "need for speed" and his attention turned to racing cars. He was the Grand Am Cup and SCCA sports car club champion, infamous for taking risks on the rain-slicked S-turns at Lime Rock, CT's racetrack, earning him the nickname "Maddog." He loved driving everywhere, reveling in 24-hour endurance racing. He loved his convertible sports cars and would crisscross the country, top down in winter, always at top speed of course, creating new lanes when necessary. We will never know how many speeding tickets he talked his way out of.
He loved his family, and especially his grandchildren Nathaniel, Hazel, and Vivienne who were endlessly entertained by silly grandpa and his stories of walking to school in Israel (up a hill, both ways) or how he once bristled with Tom Cruise post-race, the maddog telling the newbie a thing or two about the gentleman's way of racing. He lived life on his own terms, never accepting the way he was told a certain thing would go, always seeking out an alternate route. He beat cancer twice and survived many battle wounds in his life including multiple car crashes. He always amazed his crew chief, another Somers local Danny Fisher, when he walked away from a smoking car without a scratch.
Despite the many obstacles he faced, he told his daughters that he felt like he had been pretty lucky in life. He passed away peacefully, at home, surrounded by his family, on February 28, 2022.