Mattox’s Legacy Will Be Enduring

John Mattox will be remembered by many as the exceedingly compassionate man who was determined we should never forget an era in which simple decency seemed to be in short supply.

Mattox, of Flushing, died Wednesday at age 84. His passing is mourned by many who knew him or knew of him, on both sides of the Ohio River.

He contributed time and energy to a variety of community causes. His work in promoting the Special Wish organization and in helping both juveniles at the Sargus Detention Center and adults at the Belmont Correctional Institution illustrated the level of his kindness.

Mattox was most well-known for the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, however. He and his late wife established it and, for 25 years, he served as curator. The museum is a reminder of both the terrible inhumanity of which humans are capable and the extraordinary courage and compassion some demonstrate in battling brutality.

Two Belmont County commissioners, Jerry Echemann and Josh Meyer, were among many who paid tribute to Mattox. What they said defined the man, in important ways.

“He’s just one of those people you won’t replace,” Meyer commented. Mattox “defined the word ‘gentleman,'” Echemann added.

Indeed. Mattox will be missed. What he did here will endure, continuing to do good both in Belmont County and beyond.


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