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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 his brother, Rudolph, were butchers and firemen. His sister, Emma, taught English at the local German school.
Ernst met his wife, Ella, while they worked summer jobs at a hotel in Charlevoix, Michigan, around 1912. 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 U.S. Army in 1918 in France as a quartermaster. Ella taught school in Marion.
After the war, with a growing family, Ernst worked as an accountant and business manager at Frank Brothers Department Store. They moved to Cherry Street and lived in their home there for 30 years. Their 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, including card games, scouting and playing musical instruments.
While the Great Depression added challenges, Ernst and Ella rose to meet them. Ernst worked two or three jobs to make ends meet. Ella managed a busy household and made all of their clothes. Their relatives who owned the butcher shop often bartered goods since no one had cash. No matter how tight 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 went to its rival, Ohio University. Their brother went to Ohio Northern University. The four girls became teachers while John became an attorney in Marion.
World War II caused upheaval. Kay worked at a factory shipping tank parts to the front. As she spoke some German, she also supervised German POWs who worked at the plant.
Lucy and Kay moved back in with Ernst and Ella to have their babies while their husbands were serving overseas. John married a teacher from Ohio Northern. His bride, Lois, taught at Silver Street Elementary (now Hayes) and raised their children in Marion.
Teaching and education remained woven throughout the family tree. Kay, taught special education for 20 years, encouraging some of her students to attend college. Lucy taught music in Kingsport, Tennessee. Ginny was an artist and taught school as well. Barbara taught school in Ohio and Indiana in the early years of her marriage.
The love of education continued on throughout the next several generations as well. Ginny’s daughter, Karen, became school superintendent of a system in Reno, NV. Kay’s son, Dr. Stephen Erlandson, married Linda, a teacher. Their son has a Ph.D. in educational technology and is currently a curriculum specialist and online educational consultant. Their daughter, who has master’s degrees in education and school psychology, now teaches at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada.
While the sisters and their families eventually moved out of the area, they remained close. For many years they would visit together in Marion or on Lake Erie with their parents. After Ernst, Ella, and brother John passed away, the sisters and John’s wife, Lois, made sure to get together as often as possible.
In 1981, the five women with spouses, children, grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren, began a tradition of gathering for biannual reunions in Gatlinburg, TN. The family came from Ohio, seven other states, and Ontario, Canada. The reunions continue despite a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In tribute to the founders of their family, Stephen and Linda Erlandson started 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 by helping others pursuing their educations to succeed,” said Erlandson.
This article originally appeared on Marion Star: MarionMade!: A tradition of education in a family with Marion roots