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Educator remembered for work for others
OBIT Mattie Hicks
Mattie Hicks - photo by Photo provided.
Mattie Pearl Mathis Hicks, a longtime teacher and member of the Liberty County Board of Education, died Dec. 30 at age 87. Hicks is fondly remembered as a woman with conviction and passion for her work, always keeping children top of mind when working to ensure they had a quality education.
Fellow former school board member Barney Rocker remembered Hicks as a woman who was dedicated to the board’s work and was vocal about her dedication. “She was a good board member,” he said. “She did was she was supposed to do, she was well-informed and she kept up. I always enjoyed being with her on the board,” Rocker said.
Current BoE member Becky Carter said though she and Hicks butted heads in Carter’s early days on the board, the two eventually became close friends. Carter said what bonded them was a mutual background in teaching and a mutual love for schoolchildren.
“We had an enormous amount of respect for each other,” she said. “She was firm in her opinions but what always shone through was her love for children.”
Hicks earned degrees and teaching certifications from Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Georgia Southern University, the University of Georgia and Atlanta University. She taught elementary school on Fort Stewart for 25 years before being elected to the Liberty County Board of Education, where she served for 22 years as a District 1 representative.
“I was on the board with Ms. Hicks for many years,” board member Carol Guyett said. “She was always a children’s champion.” Guyett described Hicks as having a heart “as big as Liberty County” who visited Guyett when her mother and husband passed away.
Hicks always spoke her mind and used to say she’d step down when Guyett left the board of education, but when Hicks left her seat recently, “I’d joke with her that she broke her promise to me,” Guyett said. “She was an absolutely wonderful woman. I loved her very much. I will always remember her fondly.”
Verdell Jones, who succeeded Hicks as the District 1 representative on the board, said Hicks’ name is synonymous with local education. “I have known her all my life because I was educated in the schools here,” Jones said. “One of the things I liked about her was she had a lot of passion. It’s one thing to do something, it’s another to do it with passion.”
Jones remembers Hicks’ focus was always on the children of the community and that she was focused on doing the right thing and making sure everyone was treated fairly. When it came time for Jones to run for the school board, she said she made sure to call Hicks before announcing her decision.
“I had such great respect for her, that I talked with her first,” she said. “I called her a lot to talk over the years. I always enjoyed talking to her. She had such a boldness about her.”
Jones said that even in failing health, Hicks had a desire to serve. “I appreciate her leadership. She was a remarkable lady and she is going to be so missed in the community.”
A wake for Hicks will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Monday at Midway Congregational Church, UCC.  Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Tuesday at Midway Middle School Gym in Midway, and interment will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at Dixon Cemetery in Queensland, Ben Hill County. In lieu of floral arrangements, donations may be made to the Mattie M. Hicks Scholarship Fund, P.O. 66, Hinesville, Ga., 31310.

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