Robert L. "Bob" Mattingly was born on the Grey Prairie about 5 miles northwest of Mount Vernon on Oct. 11, 1929. He was the youngest of seven siblings born to J.W. "Jim" and Ida Hays Mattingly.
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In July 1948, he joined the U.S. Army and took his training at Fort Ord, Calif. Upon completion of his training he was shipped to Vienna, Austria. He immediately fell in love with Austria, especially Vienna. This was where he met and married his first wife, Gabriele, and started his family.
During his time in California he was known by the nickname "Curly," but upon his arrival in Vienna he was "Tex." His wife and her family only knew him by that name. When they prepared to return to the States in 1952, Bob informed his wife she would be laughed out of his family if she called him Tex, so at this time to his wife he became Bob.
After a short time in the States he was reassigned to the Kaiserlautem Engineer Depot in Germany. During his time there the family spent every Christmas in Vienna. In July 1954, when his enlistment was up, he obtained a civilian job with the Depot where he served as chief production control at the Engineer Rebuild Plant. During his time in Germany he was known as Matt. In December 1957, he obtained a transfer to the Cleveland Ohio Army Ordnance District, which later was the Army Procurement District, and in 1965 it became a part of the Defense Contract Administration Region Cleveland. It covered several states and the country of Canada. Bob held many managerial positions with these organizations and his last position was director of Systems and Finance. He often joked that it was a long way from the cotton fields of East Texas.
He retired on March 31, 1985, with 36 years of service and was awarded the highest medal his agency could bestow. During his years in Cleveland he became active in the Masonic Lodge and served as Worshipful Master of North Star Lodge in 1972. It was upon his arrival in Cleveland that he finally was known as Bob.
In 1987, Bob returned to his beloved state of Texas and settled in Winnsboro. He immediately became involved with horses and trail riding. He became reacquainted with his first true love, Ruth Hamrick McElroy. After several years of courtship they were married on April 13, 1991. This united the two families into one, Bob's beloved daughter, Patsy, and Ruth's sons, Jim Bob, Butch and Nicky. Upon their marriage Bob joined Ruth as active members of Pine Street Baptist Church. Ruth and Bob enjoyed many years of trail riding first with horses and later years with their mules and wagon. They made lifetime friends with other trail riders from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
In 1993 Bob became a lifetime friend of Bill W. He often said this 12-step program was his lifesaver. Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Baby Ruth, in 2004; his sons, Jim Bob Truett and Butch McElroy; his brother, James L Mattingly; his sister, Florine Simms; and his sister, Lois Banks.
He is survived by his daughter, Patsy Juhn and her husband Mike of Ohio; son, Nicky McElroy and his wife Deena of Richardson; his sister, Lelia Jordan Roberts of Mount Vernon, his sister, Gertrude Banks of Winnsboro and his sister Betty Secriest; six grandchildren; a host of nephews and nieces including his "special adopted" nephew, Richard Rhymes and his family of Leesburg; and a host of trail riding friends.
Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, 2011, at Beaty Funeral Home of Winnsboro with Bro. Charles Ethridge officiating.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2011, at Beaty Funeral Home of Winnsboro.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on May 14, 2011