Ellers Mortuary & Cremation Center

3400 S. Webster Street, Kokomo, IN


Mickey Joe Mathias

January 21, 1931May 7, 2020

Mickey Joe Mathias, just Joe to friends and family, left this world May 7 2020. Born January 21, 1931 he was the son of Albert Earl Mathias and Goldie May (Collins) Mathias and the youngest of 4 children. He grew up on the family farm learning the value of hard work and helping others in need. After graduating from Rochester High School in 1949 Joe went to Ball State Teachers College where he received a BS degree in Education in 1953. He taught for a year before completing a 2 year stint in the Air Force as an officer On July 15 1956 he married Nancy Jane Gantz and they enjoyed 56 years of marriage until Nancy’s passing in June of 2012.

He resumed his education career until 1989 much of these years as an elementary school principal in the Kokomo Center School District. During this time he also developed an Indiana History curriculum for fourth graders called My Hoosier Heritage which was used statewide by the state for 20 years. He traversed the state many times training teachers on its use.

He stayed connected to his farming roots throughout his life renting land to area farmers but his true agricultural passion was blueberry growing. After Nancy’s passing he spent many hours maintaining and upgrading his blueberry crop. He was very generous and allowed friends and acquaintances alike to pick for free. He was a doting grandpa to his 3 granddaughters: Rachel Day (Danny) West Palm Beach, FL, Hannah Freiherr, (Greg) Carmel, IN and Lauren Miller, Fishers IN. He spent countless hours telling them stories of his youth and reading them classic childrens’ stories.

Joe was a devoted Christian and member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church was active with several groups. He also attended Whipoorwill United Methodist Church in Fulton County. He was a wonderful storyteller with amazing recall and could enchant family members for hours with tales of his younger years. Survivors in addition to his grandchildren include 2 sons; Mike Mathias (Linda) of Fishers, IN and Scott Mathias of Kokomo.

He is also survived by a great granddaughter and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by Nancy and his 3 siblings. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Kokomo or Whipoorwill United Methodist Church, Rochester, IN.

Due to current restrictions surrounding the pandemic, there will be no calling. There will be a private family ceremony May 13, 2020 at 2:00pm Eastern Daylight Time which will be streamed on Ellers Mortuary Facebook page. Burial will immediately follow in Albright Cemetery. You can find Joe’s obituary at www.ellersmortuarywebster.com where you can leave a message for the family and sign the guest registry.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Mickey Joe Mathias

have a memory or condolence to add?

Eric Merrill

May 14, 2020

I have great memories working for Joe for several summers. He was my first boss. He was one of the kindest and wisest people I've ever had the fortune to meet.

The world is a better place because of Joe. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Ricke Stucker

May 13, 2020

RIH, Joe! Job well done. Thank you!

Brian McKellar

May 13, 2020

Mr. Mathias was my principal at Boulevard Elementary in the late 70s. Many fond memories of him.

Craig Billman

May 13, 2020

Mike and Scott so sorry for your loss, your dad is a loss for all of us but Im happy for him as he has graduated to Heaven and now spending time with my mom, aunt June, Uncle Bob, David Grove,Grandma Goldie, grandad Earl and a host of departed ancestors and cousins he knew on this side of life. When I think of your dad I think of a country gentlemen, a man of wisdom, a man of his word and his faith. He lived his values to the end and accounted himself on this earth a good son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather. teacher, principal, historian, farmer and businessman. He was joy to know and a wonderful example to follow. Im grateful for his life and i will miss him dearly.

Pete Smith

May 12, 2020

Mathias Family,
Your father and grandfather touched many, many lives in his journey through life. I met him in Kokomo in the 1980's. Additionally, when people in Kokomo learned I was from Rochester they would say to me, "Do you know Mr. Mathias!". Joe was a starter on Rochester's 1949 basketball squad that lost in the Regional Championship to South Bend Central. That was quite an accomplishment for our Zebras. And as you likely know, he only played his senior year yet, made a big impact in the team's success. My sincere condolences.

Donna Leiter

May 12, 2020

To the family of Mr. Joe Mathias,
I am so sorry for your loss of Joe. I was a teacher at Boulevard School from 1967-1973. Joe was my first principal. I thought he was a great principal. He was kind, caring, patient, and encouraging. He helped with discipline problems and did bus duty for all of us teachers. He had a great sense of humor and liked to tease. Joe was good with students, teachers, and parents. My name was Donna Niesse at that time. When I married Gale Leiter, a teacher at Haworth High School, Joe, Nancy, Mike and Scott attended our wedding at a church in Indianapolis in December of 1970. We have exchanged Christmas cards with Joe for the last few years. He invited us to visit him at his home and we enjoyed talking about old times. He was very proud of his family and his blueberry farm. This last Christmas he wrote on our card: "God bless both of you." That's the kind of friend he was. We are planning to donate some Gideon Bibles in his memory.
Sincerely, Donna Leiter

David Buckalew

May 11, 2020

Mr. Mathias was the principal at Darrough Chapel School when I taught there. He was an excellent leader and I admired him as a man. He knew each child and cared about each person. He is one of the men who mentored me as I went into school administration.

I worked with him last summer at The Farm transplanting blueberry bushes. Spent a fun day with him.

We lost a great man. He will be missed by many.

Charley Hinkle

May 11, 2020

Joe was a kind and generous man. I worked with him at Sycamore Elementary School. He was a friend, as well as a mentor. He provided our children, Jason and Susan, the opportunity to work with him in the Indiana History Program. This program was used all over the state of Indiana by thousands of fourth graders as a major part of the social studies program of most schools. Mary and I send are condolences to the family.

Darrell Brewer

May 11, 2020

He gave tools to teachers. (Indiana History Kits), and love to kids. What more can a good man do? I remember telling Mike I used the kits in school. (as did many others) He said his dad grew blueberries, and piddled at other stuff. I wish I could piddle so well.

Sue McGavic

May 11, 2020

My first teaching job was in Kokomo IN. I remember my first meeting with Mr. Mathias, as I was to teach only 1 class at Boulevard School..the other classes were at Haworth High School...in choral music. He looked at me and said, "You are a Happy Music Teacher"...and I will never forget that comment. I loved teaching for his students at Boulevard, and he also was a customer of ours at McGavic Outdoor Power for several years after that. I have always tried to live up to his comment...being "happy" in whatever I do. People need sunshine and smiles..which he always demonstrated.
Sorry for your loss...he was a special person to me. Sue McGavic


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