Geraldine Ann “Gerry” <I>Rock</I> Mathis


Geraldine Ann “Gerry” Rock Mathis

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Death 17 Sep 2013 (aged 72)
Edmonds, Snohomish County, Washington, USA
Burial Coupeville, Island County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 118939678 View Source

Geraldine Ann "Gerry" Mathis, age 72, longtime Coupeville resident and educator, passed away following a brief illness at Swedish Medical Center – Edmonds Campus on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

Mrs. Mathis was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 28, 1941, to Donald and Irene (Critchfield) Rock. She grew up in Arlington, VA, where she graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1959. Gerry then attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, where she received her BA Degree in Elementary Education. In later years she went on to receive her Masters Degree from Western Washington University.

After having attended a segregated high school, Gerry was passionate about social justice issues. She participated in sit-ins at a Woolworths lunch counter to protest the company's refusal to serve black customers, and worked at a settlement house in inner-city Chicago.

Gerry taught for several years in the Minneapolis school district. One day, she read a magazine article about the American cities with the most eligible bachelors, and one of them was Seattle. She soon had a phone interview with the Seattle School District, which resulted in a teaching position and a bold move away from her friends and family to strike out on her own. The venture culminated in a marriage proposal after two weeks of courtship, and her wedding to Ross Bennett Mathis at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle on May 18, 1968. The couple lived in Ballard and Mukilteo before settling in Coupeville in 1975. Gerry taught for several Seattle schools until 1978, with the majority of those years at University Heights Elementary School.

Gerry taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades at Coupeville Elementary School from 1978 until her retirement in 2001. A fellow teacher once remarked about Gerry's unwavering passion to help the least advantaged kids. She touched many lives, spanning two generations of Coupeville students.

Gerry was a cheerful, outgoing person who could quickly turn strangers into friends. An avid reader, she could often be found checking out books at the Coupeville library. Gerry was a past President of the League of Women Voters of Whidbey Island and organized candidate debates for local elections. She was also a long-standing member and former Elder at the Whidbey Presbyterian Church.

Gerry is survived by her husband Ross; her daughters Sheila Hurtt (Chris) of Portland, OR and Susan Schalla (James) of Edmonds, WA; her four grandchildren, Aidan and Enya Hurtt and Maren and Robyn Schalla; her brother Don Rock (Robyn) of Bunbury, Western Australia; also, by nieces and nephews Stephanie, Danielle and Matt Rock and Eric Hauser. She was preceded in death by her sister, Kathleen Hauser in 1976 and by her brother Lawrence Rock in 1989. Memorials for both Ross and Gerry Mathis can be given to Friends of the Coupeville Library, 788 NW Alexander Street, Coupeville, WA 98239.

A Memorial Service for all friends, family, and Gerry's former students will be held at Whidbey Presbyterian Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 26, after a private interment at Sunnyside Cemetery.

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