Montreat College alumnus Matt Auten ‘91, who lived in Swannanoa, N.C., with his wife, Amy, and two sons, died this past Tuesday, August 19. He drowned accidentally while vacationing with his family near Harbor Island in Beaufort, S.C. He was 45 years old.

“He was so much more than a friend for so many people,” said close friend and Montreat College Music Business Program Director Kevin Auman. “I don’t think he ever dreamed he’d have so many friends, and so each one he made was like a gold nugget to him; he’d lock them up in Fort Knox and nurture them. And I think that’s part of why he was so special to so many people.”

After graduating from Montreat in 1991, Auten continued to stay connected with his alma mater, particularly through his recent work with Auman on various projects within Montreat’s Music Business program. An accomplished musician and recording artist, Auten helped lead workshops and songwriting classes for Montreat students, worked with students in the building of Montreat’s recording studio, and helped record the student-produced album In the Land of the Sky (2011), to which he also contributed four performances of his own.

“He was very thoughtful and kind,” said former student Krystalynne Schultz, who worked on her senior project with Auten and graduated from Montreat in 2013. “His humility when giving instruction with my songwriting was always sincere. He impacted so many lives, many more that he could have ever realized.”

Born in Mooresville, N.C., in 1969, Auten graduated from North Hills Christian School in Salisbury, N.C., before attending Montreat. He lived in Swannanoa, N.C., attended Christ Community Church in Montreat, and was a facilities manager for Western NC Group Homes. He was a beloved husband and father, a kind friend, and known for his gift of singing and songwriting. He is survived by his wife, Amy Lufty Auten, whom he married in 1994; his sons, Graham Auten (age 9) and Benjamin Auten (age 7); his brother, Mark Auten and wife, Ellen; his sister, Anne A. Baker and husband, Chuck; and numerous nieces and nephews.


A memorial service for Matt Auten will be held on August 30 at 1 p.m. in Gaither Chapel, 310 Gaither Circle, Montreat, NC 28757. In lieu of flowers, please send support for the Auten family to:

Christ Community Church

P.O. Box 279

Montreat, NC 28757

In the MEMO line write: “Matt Auten Family Fund”

Or online, go to:

And designate “Matt Auten Family Fund”