LeRoy R. Mattison, age 89 of Whitesville died on Friday, November 26, 2021 at St. James Hospital in Hornell, a victim of Covid-19.
Mr. Mattison, or “Reid” as he was more commonly known, was born on July 7, 1932 in Greenwood to Clarence and Hazel (York) Mattison. Reid was raised in a humble home in Hammondsport on Reservoir Hill where he and his eleven siblings romped and played with their friends. Along with his brothers, Reid made many trips to the spring up the hill behind the house to carry multiple buckets of water to supply the family’s needs. He had fond memories of scrambling through the glen and skipping school. He often mentioned that during WWII, he and classmates spent many recess hours on the roof of the Glenn Curtiss home behind the school to watch for enemy planes that might attack the Curtiss Aviation Works.
At the age of 13, Reid moved to Greenwood at the request of his Uncle John and Aunt Elsey Rogers to help on the farm. This move transformed his life as he lived and worked with them on the Rogers dairy. It was during this time Reid fell in love with farming and dreamed of having his own farm. Taking up an offer by the Streeter family, he raised chickens in their coop. The proceeds from the eggs and chickens provided for his extra expenses and taught him basic business principles. Those chickens paid for his first car and for his fiancé’s engagement ring. During his days at Greenwood Central School, he was instrumental in forming the school fair and the student council. He graduated from there in 1950.
Meeting Phyllis Burdick at a square dance at the West Union Grange Hall, Reid fell in love with the entire Burdick family right along with Phyllis. He and Phyllis were wed at the Burdick family farm in Andover, on August 1, 1953. They set up housekeeping in Farmersville Station where Reid worked as a hired hand on a local dairy while Phyllis taught school. But soon, Uncle Sam called him into active service in the US Army. It was on his first day of boot camp at Fort Dix, that his first child, Yvonne, was born. It was while stationed at Fort Carson that his unit was deployed to Nevada to witness an atomic bomb detonation, an experience that stayed with him the rest of his life.
Returning to the Andover area after his military service, Phyllis and Reid moved to Tip Top where he raised a couple of pigs and kept a Jersey cow. It was at this time that he was offered a job at Citizen’s National Bank, a position that changed his life. Here he developed his banking ethic that the bank, or any business really, has an obligation to not only make a profit, but more importantly to serve the community. His greatest joys in banking were to help people get a good start in life and to help them dig their way out of financial trouble. He knew what it was to do without, and how hard it could be to get your feet on the ground.
In 1958, Reid moved to town where he served the Andover community as manager of the Citizen’s Branch office, eventually rising to become Assistant Vice President. He remained after the business was bought out by Key Bank, and retired in 1988 as Senior Vice President. During these years, he bought the former Burdick farm north of Andover where he continued the maple syrup business. For his maple syrup, he earned the First Prize trophy for the quality of his syrup at one of the early Andover Maple Festivals. In all those years, he treasured the many friends he made.
Early in his life, Reid committed himself to ensuring the spiritual nurture of his family and took them to church weekly from day one. A man of great faith, Reid wore out his Bible reading it from cover to cover several times over the decades. He lived to serve and took his commitments seriously, giving of his time and treasure to both the Alfred Station Seventh Day Baptist Church and, later on, the Chenunda Creek Fellowship, as treasurer, trustee, deacon, camp counselor and director, among many other things.
There was nothing he loved more than raising a big garden and processing the produce to share with family and friends. He returned to this upon his retirement and subsequent move adjacent to his brother Veryl, to “Mattison Mountain” in Whitesville. He loved mowing lawn and was an artist with a shovel and pick, as he dug miles of ditches over his lifetime. Reid believed in honesty and hard work, but even more believed that he had an obligation to give of himself for the good of others.
A humble man, Mr. Mattison would have never told you of the many offices and positions of responsibility he held over his lifetime. He was a member of the Grange and the Masons. Reid also received the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Wellsville Rotary where he also served as General Coordinator Wellsville Community Playground at Island Park, raising $27,000 in the process. It was through the Rotary International that the Mattison’s hosted two exchange students. He was appointed to serve on Senator Stanley Lundine’s Academy Committee. He also served for nine years as an appointee by Governor Carey on the Council for Alfred State University and Technical College and as a member of the Private Industry Council of Allegany County. His daily lifetime of service was marked by providing home and security for many over the years. He was known for making it a practice to provide transportation to and from church on a regular basis and to invite others into his home to share in the joy of his life. He was always on the lookout for those he could help by dropping off and sharing a meal. He was always available to counsel anyone who needed sound advice.
Reid’s life centered around family and friends. He ensured that his family rubbed elbows often with his siblings and in-laws. As a result, the lives of all he touched were enriched by him. His family never went without due to his diligent stewardship of his resources. When Phyllis’ health declined, Reid stepped up to the plate as her main caretaker, seeing to her needs with compassionate love and tender care. His deepest concerns were always for his family to the final hours of his life.
His great faith kept him strong through all the storms of life and helped him see clear to a solution with all of life’s problems. He was the anchor of his family for whom he lived. He loved being a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. And it was his fondest wish to provide them with the security he felt they needed. His family is ever grateful for his loving sacrifices and rejoice that he has the reward of his Savior’s sweet grace, as he waits for his loved ones in the realms of eternity.
Reid was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Phyllis R. (Burdick) Mattison; his parents; his siblings, Catherine Turner, Curtis Mattison, Evelyn Milizia, Donald Mattison, Ruth Corey, Charles Mattison, Veryl Mattison, Marylin Speer and Audrey Pearston. He is also predeceased by his son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Ernest K. Bee, Jr., four great-grandchildren and eight nieces and nephews.
Mr. Mattison is survived by his daughter, Yvonne Bee and son, Christian R. (Rebecca) Mattison, both of Whitesville; grandchildren, Maureen L. Wilsey of Whitesville, Rebekah (Caleb) Schauer of Papillion, Neb., Kaitlin (Nicholas) Lee of Edmond, Okla, and Evan R. Mattison of Whitesville. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren, Dayton, Lila and Dawson Schauer and Loralei and Addylin Lee, as well as 38 nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Friday, December 10, from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at Baker-Swan Funeral Home on Church Street in Andover. A funeral service will be held on December 11, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Andover on Greenwood Street, officiated by the family and will conclude with military honors at the premises. A graveside service will follow at the Alfred Rural Cemetery. Online condolences may be offered at www.baker-swan.com. A live stream will be offered during the funeral service on the funeral home website.
Reid’s family offers special thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff at St. James Hospital, for the professional, compassionate, and excellent care extended to this dear, giving, man of God.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Chenunda Creek Fellowship, P.O. Box 729, Andover, NY 14806. ©2021 Baker-Swan Funeral Home.