Mon Oct 27, 2008
Carmi, Ill. -
Ted H. Matsel, age 83, died Thursday, October 23, 2008 at Wabash Christian
Retirement Center in Carmi, Ill.
Ted was born in Carmi, Ill. on March 6, 1925, and, except for his military
career, lived in Carmi his entire life. He graduated from Carmi High School
in 1943. He earned a bachelor's degree from Murray State University in
Murray, Ky. and a master's in education degree from the University of
Illinois in Champaign.
Ted was a veteran of World War II. At the age of 18, he entered military
service on April 2, 1943 as an aviation cadet. He was commissioned a 2nd
Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps of the United States, receiving his wings
and commission on Jan. 7, 1944. After receiving his wings and commission,
Lt. Matsel was stationed in England and assigned to the 8th Air Force, 729th
Bomber Squadron, 452nd Bomb Group as the co-pilot on a B-17G aircraft. Lt.
Matsel was shot down by German forces on his third bombing mission and
captured by German troops on May 29, 1944 close to Gran Leez, Belgium. He
was a prisoner of war for 11 months and was liberated by the 14th Armored
Division of General Patton's 3rd Army on April 29, 1945. Lt. Matsel was the
recipient of three battle stars in the European Theatre of Operations. Lt.
Matsel was separated from active duty in November of 1945. He remained
active in the Air Force Reserve and was promoted to first lieutenant,
serving for approximately ten years.
Ted married Helen Behler on Aug. 4, 1946 at Emmanuel Evangelical United
Brethren Church in Carmi.
Ted was a career educator for 35 years, retiring in 1983. His teaching
career began in Crossville, Ill. in 1948 where he taught at the high school
for three years. In 1951, Ted accepted a teaching position in the Carmi
school system and taught for 15 years. In 1963, he developed a junior high
program at Washington School for the Carmi public school system and was the
principal of that program for 18 years. During his career as an educator, he
served and chaired numerous committees, including service as a board member
of the Illinois Education Association for eight years.
Ted was very active in civic and community affairs during his lifetime. He
was a member of the Carmi Kiwanis Club, Carmi American Legion Post 224 and
Carmi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3851 for over 60 years, and was a past
president and post commander of those organizations. In addition, he was a
member of the White County Historical Society and the Illinois Retired
Teachers Association. In his adult life, Ted was also been involved in
numerous education, military, government, religious and civic organizations
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Helen Matsel of Carmi; one son and
daughter-in-law Jack and Karen Matsel of Jasper, Ind.; three daughters and
sons-in-law, Judy and Robert Coleman of Mt. Carmel, Ill., Mary Lynn and Tom
Ossowski of Springfield, Ill. and Martha and Ed Geppert of Belleville, Ill.;
a brother and sister-in-law, Col. Paul E. "Gene" and Helen Matsel of Carmi;
brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Richard "Dyke" and Jewell Behler, Donna
Matsel and Mary Alice Brashier, all of Carmi, and Jeanette Smith of Norman,
Okla.; 10 grandchildren, Brad, Steve and Dan Geppert; Dr. Ben and Phil
Coleman; Leah, Allison and Jared Matsel; Dr. Kathryn Colman and Tim
Ossowski; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a
brother, Roy Matsel.
Visitation was held at Campbell Funeral Home in Carmi from 4 to 8 p.m. on
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. Funeral services were held on Monday, Oct. 27, 2008
at 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Phoenix Foundation of Southern
Illinois, Inc., c/o Campbell Funeral Home, 609 W. Main St., Carmi, IL 62821,
or the Emmanuel United Methodist Church New Building Fund, 700 Third St.,
Carmi, IL 62821.