Brian Mathias was Lowell’s favorite “jolly ole soul,” his wife Judie Mathias said.
With his white beard and hair, Mathias, 74, was a natural for the role he played at the Lowell Public Library and in the town’s Parade of Lights.
“He just loved the kids, and they loved him,” Judie Mathias said. “He had such a way with them.”
Married 48 years, the couple met at Wells Street Beach. Forty-six years ago, they moved to Lake Dalecarlia, where Mathias was a volunteer fireman for six years.
“It was his paradise,” Judie Mathias said. “He loved it here. We really enjoyed our home.”
The couple enjoyed spending time with their family and road trips to see nearby extended family members.
“He loved his family, and his grandchildren were the light of his life,” Judie Mathias said.
Mathias was loyal to everything he did. He was passionate about his country, the Marine Corps, with whom he served in Okinawa, Japan, during the Korean War, and Ironworkers Local 395.
“He took pride in everything he did,” Judie Mathias said. “He wanted to do a good job.”
He was a welder and an ironworker.
“He always said he climbed up to the highest spot at Inland Steel on the cat cracker and sang the Hallelujah Chorus,” she said.
A charter member of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus and member of the Sir Noteables and Opera Theatre, Mathias also enjoyed dancing. He performed with the Ain’t No Mountain Cloggers.
Politically active, Mathias was also president of the Friends of the Lowell Library, active at Buckley Homestead and delivered Meals on Wheels.
Mathias, who loved to read, filled their home with books.
“He always said knowledge is power,” Judie Mathias said.
Judie Mathias said her husband was a Baptist “who had a very close walk with God.”
“His main part of his life was trying to live a good life, and he did,” she said.