Mattie M. Ermey
Mattie Mae Gallaher Ermey died on Sept. 30 at Heartland Health Center in Austin, Texas, days after celebrating her 101st birthday with family.
She is survived by her son, Harold Lee Ermey (b. Dec. 18, 1935) and Earline Lavern Ermey Wakefield (b. Sept. 10, 1941), both of Austin, Texas; grandsons, Jeff Jewett, Jason Jewett and Sean Ermey; three great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father, Joseph E. Gallaher, (d. 1958), and mother, Ella May Lucas Gallaher (d.1974), and her one brother, James L. Gallaher (b. 1916, d. 1978)
Mattie was born Sept. 18, 1911, in Hot Springs, Ark. In early childhood, she camped with her parents with her father's traveling sawmill, then at school age moved into Hot Springs to live with an aunt. After her father's sawmill was lost to the Great Depression, the teenage Mattie went to work for Wheatly Brothers Garage, enrolled in business school, learned bookkeeping, and became the primary breadwinner for her family.
While she was still in her teens, doctors discovered Mattie’s extremely high blood pressure, and predicted she would not live to be 30 (she enjoyed pointing out how long she had outlived those doctors). Believing the prognosis, Mattie bought life insurance benefiting her family, and began taking flying lessons – an example of the enthusiasm and confidence with which she continued to engage life. (Ironically she was never licensed to fly, due to her high blood pressure.)
It was in Hot Springs that Mattie met Earl Lee Ermey, and married him in 1934. Their two children, Harold and Earline, were born there and attended school there until middle childhood.
Earl had opened his own electrical contracting business and Mattie worked as his bookkeeper. Later his business had failed and Earl found a job at the new Alcoa plant near Port Lavaca, Texas, and the family moved to Texas, and to Point Comfort Village in 1950, where Earl became the city's first mayor. The family also became founding members of the Point Comfort Baptist Church. Mattie was always eager to work at a job, and she worked at Alcoa and later at the cable company in Port Lavaca.
Mattie’s life changed when Earl died in 1990, when she wrote in her journal that day, “I lost my greatest love ever, and my best friend.” But she converted Earl's home office to claim it as her space for sewing and quilt-making, and she continued to share lunch gatherings with her women friends for many years, and to attend church faithfully.
She was able to continue living in her own home on Bell Street until 2010, with the help of many good friends, to whom her family are very grateful.
She came to Heartland Health Center after a stroke in 2010, and has been cared for by Hospice Austin through her last months.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Gross Funeral Home, 120 Wrights Lane, Hot Springs, Ark.
Graveside services will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
A memorial service in Point Comfort, Texas will be announced at a later date.
Condolences may be sent to http://www.cookwaldenfuneralhome.com.