Tragedy hits WHS with death of school janitor in the high school basement
The whole community and especially the schoolchildren were shocked on Thursday morning when one of the high school students found the body of Steve Matrick, the school janitor, who had a room in the basement of the high school, hanging by a cord made of electrical wires twisted together. Steve had been working for the school for eight years and all the students felt kindly toward him, talking with him and bringing him small gifts of food and other items.
He received his meals from the school cafeteria. He could talk very little English, but he was always appreciative of every kind word, smile or little attention which was given him. He had been ill for several days and it is thought his condition together with the lonely life he lived prompted the act.
Steve Matrick was born in Warsaw, Poland December 15, 1887. He came to America in 1918 and worked 20 years for Consolidation Coal Co. His dismissal was caused by an accident and he then came to Whitesburg. His best friend in this town was Mr. French Hawk, who had been kind to him, furnishing him food and clothing and at his death took charge of his body. He was prepared for burial by the Craft Funeral Home and funeral services were conducted by Rev. L.O. Griffith and Rev. K.E. Hill in the school auditorium.
The friends among the student body of the town attended. The high school Glee Club sang “Abide With Me”, “Now The Day Is Over” and “When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day”. The funeral services were very impressive when Rev. Griffith told the audience that immigrant Steve had no relatives here, still he had a country. He said many had the joy of having served and been kind to Steve, while many felt they had missed an opportunity in failing to render any kindness to him, but realize there are many others around us to whom we can minister.
Steve Matrick’s body was laid to rest by the side of Little Billy Flynn in the Sandlick Cemetery, a small boy Mr. Hawk had befriended in life and in death. The teachers, student bodies of the high school and grades also the county assisted Mr. Hawk in the funeral expenses of Steve.
(Note: This article appeared in The Mountain Eagle on Feb. 18, 1943.)
Picture 1 Mallorie Caudill; Picture 2 Vickie Frazier; Picture 3 Missy Craft; Picture 4 Alice Thomas; Picture 5 Danny Boggs; Picture 6 Harry Polly; Picture 7 Jennifer Stansberry; Picture 8 Ricky Collins; Picture 9 Angela Shell; Picture 10 Jimmy Smith; Picture 11 Selena Sturgill, Picture 12 Mike Gover.