The following article was published in the Midweek Journal on August 18, 1986 by Lana Turner.
“Up Close and Personal”
Circumstances did not rule this man. Jerry Vincent Mattingly is an example of a person who against the odds made something of himself. Being an only child from a broken family, most of his childhood years were spent with his grandmother. He went to church with his buddies. At twenty years of age he acquired a half-sister.
Jerry grew up in the Barberton area, as did Marilyn (his wife). All through high school he played various sports and worked at Kroger’s in his spare time. He was a diligent worker and when he graduated from high school in 1957, he had a full-time job at Kroger’s. He went from head cashier to being a casher trainer of the Akron area. However, having been inspired by good teachers in his life, Jerry had always wanted to be a teacher. Kroger’s opened a new store and wanted him to be head cashier instead of over-all manager because of his lack of education. He had trained everyone there, but experience didn’t count. At that point, he made up his mind to go to college and get a degree in education. Meanwhile, in 1960 Jerry and Marilyn were married. That same year she graduated from nursing school. In May 1961, Mike was born, and that fall Jerry started at Akron University. Ironically, Kroger finally came around and asked him to be in charge, but he turned them down. He was on his way to being a teacher and nothing was stopping him now. For three years (1961-1964) he was going to school full-time and working at Kroger’s 37 hours in the evening. His family saw little of him. Sunday was his only day off. He got a B.S. in Elementary Education and later (1970) went on to get his M.S. in Elementary Education. In 1963 Michelle was born, in 1964 they bought a house, in 1966 he finally quit Kroger’s after 10 years, in 1967 Marcene was born and in 1969 Marc was born. From 1964 on, Jerry worked full time as a teacher, teaching fifth and sixth grades. In 1975, he became principal at Decker Elementary and three years later was transferred to Woodford, where he is presently starting his ninth year as principal. Over the years he has taught or been friends with several famous sports people. Ask him about it.
Marilyn and Jerry were “grade school” sweethearts. One of Marilyn’s earliest recollections of Jerry was in first grade when he brought his pet, a little toy terrier, to school in his shirt pocket. Jerry says “she chased me ever since fifth grade.” Marilyn says “not true!” Whoever did the chasing, it worked.
Looking for a home away from the city, they found what they were looking for in Hartville. They had been attending First Church of Christ in Barberton. John Beachy, a kind and generous neighbor, invited them to Hartville Mennonite. They came and liked it. That was ten years ago. Since coming to Hartville Mennonite, they’ve acquired a daughter-in-law (Chris Yoder) and less than a year ago a granddaughter, “Sara, sweetheart”. Jerry Vincent Mattingly is a great example of what hard work and courage can do.