Arthur Angelo Di Mattia
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Arthur Angelo Di Mattia
Art loved to tell stories about growing up as a first generation American in New York. His father eventually owned three garment factories and was very proud of his success as a United States Citizen. He had a younger sister, Catherine (Butera) and a younger brother, Joseph (Joe) who served in the Navy.
Even though his father had found his American dream and wanted to give each of his children one of his three factories, young Arthur decided to make his own way in life and in 1937 at the age of 15 he forged his mother's signature and joined the military. He liked to joke that it was a great way to travel cheap.
He proudly and courageously served in three wars before retiring. He served in WWII, Korea, and served in the military during Vietnam. He was wounded in Korea by shrapnel and cut off for days from food, supplies, and nearly freezing to death during winter. He always said he was no hero, he just loved serving his country. He retired in the 1960s as a chief warrant officer with many ribbons and medals as a testament to his bravery and service to his country.
While in the Army, he chose Alabama as his home. He then worked for Dresser Industries and as a bailiff in Calhoun County. He was chief bailiff during the infamous trail in 1983 of Audrey Marie Hilley. It was during that trial that he met Dorothy Hall Morrison,one of the jurors. Four years later, they randomly met again. This time it was true love and he married her in March of 1987. They have been soul mates and forever loves, never far apart from each other for the last 31 years. He always told her that God looked down and saw this lonely man and directed him straight to her. They loved traveling together and enjoying their home on the lake and boating.
Every morning he was a regular at either Jacks or McDonalds with his morning coffee buddies for years. He was very proud and happy when they announced his 90th birthday on the Jacks marquee and when Discover magazine wrote an article about him in March of 2015. He loved to tell jokes, stories of his life, sing to the love of his life, loved his family and friends and enjoyed life to the fullest.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Rose and Angelo Di Mattia; sister, Catherine; brother Joseph; infant son, Arthur, Jr; and infant daughter, Rita; son-in-law, Fred Schaefer; and grandson, Eric Bell.
Art is survived by his wife and love of his life, Dorothy Di Mattia, five daughters, Rose Ann Schaefer, Shirley Skeivelas, Yvonne Bel (Jimmy), Vivian Ausley (Joe), and Janet Morrison-Gonzales (David Gonzales), ten grandchildren, Frank Schaefer, Eric Bell, Erika Skeivelas, Campbell Thames (Amber), Sara Nunn, Seth Eisner, Ethan Eisner (Whitney), David Gonzales, Jr., William Gonzales and Stuart Jones; four great-grandchildren, Diana Grace Skeivelas, Kaylee Needham, Addison Thames, and Owen Eisner.
Services will be Thursday, August 30, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 4609 Martin St., S., Cropwell, Alabama. Visitation is at 10 a.m.; church service at 11 a.m. with burial at 2 p.m. at the Alabama National Cemetery, 3133 Hwy 119, Montevallo, Alabama.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) at heroes.vfw.org.
Condolences may be offered to the family at kilgroefh.com.
Kilgroe Funeral Home - Pell City will direct the service.
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