An educational tradition in a family with Marion roots

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Ernst Stuckey’s family had moved to Prospect in the 1880s. The family owned a meat market near the train tracks next to the fire station. His father John and brother Rudolph were butchers and firefighters. His sister Emma taught English at the local German school.

Ernst met his wife Ella around 1912 when they worked summer jobs at a hotel in Charlevoix, Michigan. Ernst graduated from Western Reserve (now Case Western Reserve). Ella graduated from Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University). The couple married in 1917 and settled in Marion. Ernst served in the US Army in France in 1918 as a quartermaster. Ella taught school in Marion.

After the war, Ernst worked with a growing family as an accountant and manager at the Frank Brothers department store. They moved to Cherry Street and lived there in their house for 30 years. Her children attended Marion City Schools. Four girls and one boy enjoyed running around town, riding the trolley and visiting the local soda shop. Lucille (Lucy), Kathryn (Kay), Virginia (Ginny), Barbara (Bobby) and John were a popular family who enjoyed many activities such as card games, Boy Scouts and playing musical instruments.

As the Great Depression added additional challenges, Ernst and Ella faced them. Ernst worked two or three jobs to make ends meet. Ella kept a busy household and made all her clothes. Her relatives who owned the butcher shop often bartered goods since no one had cash. No matter how tight the times were, education was a priority.

“If you were a Stuckey, you went to college,” recalled Dr. Erlandson, a grandson.

Always a competitive family, two of the girls went to Miami University and two to rival Ohio University. Her brother went to Ohio Northern University. The four girls became teachers while John became a lawyer in Marion.

The Second World War caused upheavals. Kay worked in a factory that shipped tank parts to the front. Since she spoke some German, she also supervised German prisoners of war who worked at the plant.

Lucy and Kay moved back in with Ernst and Ella to have their babies while their husbands served abroad. John married a teacher from Ohio Northern. His bride, Lois, taught at Silver Street Elementary (now Hayes) and raised their children at Marion.

Teaching and education remained intertwined in the family tree. Kay taught special education for 20 years and encouraged some of her students to go to college. Lucy taught music in Kingsport, Tennessee. Ginny was an artist and also taught at school. Barbara taught in Ohio and Indiana during the early years of their marriage.

The love for education continued in the next generations. Ginny’s daughter Karen became the principal of a system in Reno, NV. Kay’s son, Dr. Stephen Erlandson, married Linda, a teacher. Her son has a Ph.D. in Education Technology and is currently a Curriculum Specialist and Online Education Advisor. Her daughter, who has a master’s degree in education and school psychology, now teaches at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada.

Although the sisters and their families eventually moved out of the area, they stayed close. For many years they would visit Marion or Lake Erie with their parents. After Ernst, Ella and brother John passed away, the sisters and John’s wife Lois made sure they got together as often as possible.

In 1981, the five women, with spouses, children, grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren, began a tradition of getting together for biennial reunions in Gatlinburg, TN. The family was from Ohio, seven other states and Ontario, Canada. The reunions continue despite a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a tribute to the founders of their family, Stephen and Linda Erlandson created the Ernst and Ella Stuckey Scholarship Fund to help local students attend Marion Technical College.

“We can’t think of a better way to honor their memories than to help others succeed in their education,” said Erlandson.

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