Play fair. Learn to share. Show you care.
That was the answer to any dispute for Matty Mathison’s family growing up with eight siblings in the small Winnebago County town of Winchester. She heard it so often, Matty would recite it before Mom or Dad had the chance.
An avid bicyclist and a longtime Shawano-area resident, Matty is the organizer of a riding tour of barn quilts, supporter of the bicycle trail advocacy group Shawano Pathways and a member of the Friends of the Mountain Bay Trail. That comes from her childhood as well.
“We didn’t have a lot of money,” she said. “We were encouraged to create our own fun.”
Matty is retired after 37 years teaching physical education, health and a Challenge Class for at-risk students at Shawano High School. One student put her at risk, threatening her with a hand grenade he brought to class. Her steady, straight-ahead approach apparently got to the student. He later asked Matty to be a witness at his wedding.
The 74-year-old established a “paddle and pedal” event held each third Saturday in June. Participants travel by kayak and bicycle around Shawano Lake. She said Shawano Lake is a jewel, “and it’s not just for fishing.”
She also is a member of ThedaCare’s CHAT (Community Health Action Team) and takes part in 100 Women. Each member kicks in $100 and listens to proposals from three area nonprofits. The one a majority chooses receives the $10,000.
“I don’t belong to groups that don’t do things, that just talk about it or complain,” Matty said.
Among the groups she joined is the Shawano Area Community Foundation, where she established a charitable fund.
Matty has no children but plans to use Matty’s Fund within SACF to make the community her heirs, supporting her favorite causes long after her bicycle lies idle.
Matty rides a 20-mile roundtrip route on her recumbent bicycle from her 100-year-old log cabin to Shawano. She tries to do it four times a week. She uses a recumbent because of a fused vertebrae, the result of being hit by a truck in 1978 while she was bicycling.
In addition to bicycling, she enjoys hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.
“I’m just so grateful I can do what I’m doing,” she said.
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