Larry Mattis was born in the old Phoenixville Hospital, delivered by Dr. Nathan Brown. He is the only child of Wilfred and Laura Mattis. He attended Mason Street School through 11th grade in the old high school, at which time he quit school to join the U.S. Army. He served six years statewide, with his basic training in South Carolina, after which he returned to Phoenixville.
Larry and Karen Dean were both from the area but actually got together at a dance in King of Prussia. They were married for 41 years. Now that Karen is gone, Larry shares his life with Koko, his cocker spaniel.
There are three Mattis children and five grandkids. Often granddaughter Madison comes to town to hang out with her grandfather.
Larry has worked his entire life in security after the army. He was once a Pinkerton man. He retired 10 years ago in 2008.
He is fond of old movies. He tends to be a late riser in the morning, as he stays up late watching old movies on TV. He really likes to hear live band music but enjoys music of all kind. He is a member of the Phoenixville Historical Society where he shares his love of history and old photos.
Larry is the founder and the administrator of the Facebook page “You have a friend in Phoenixville,” which has more than 1,300 followers.
He holds the title of “Captain of the High Bridge.” A group of the town’s photographers gather at sunset on the bridge linking the north and south side of town. The group is made up of Larry and three other regulars, as well as anyone else who shows up. They share their shots on Facebook.
Every day, Larry stops by the Artisans Café on Bridge Street for his coffee. Some days he walks 2½ miles on the Schuylkill River Trail that runs through Phoenixville. Larry enjoys visiting shops in town, like Ellie’s Choice and Cameron Peter’s Floral Design. You may run across him all over town.
He likes to eat but doesn’t cook. He loves filled cabbage and seeks them out whereever he can find them available.
In honor of Larry, here is a recipe for filled cabbage soup — great taste and easier to make than rolling the meat in cabbage leaves.
Filled Cabbage Soup
1 small onion, chopped
Handful carrot strips
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
2 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
2 to 3 cans beef broth (approx. 14½ oz. each)
1½ pounds browned ground meat
2 cups cooked regular rice
Seasonings to taste
Brown onion in small amount of oil or coat pot with spray shortening. First add two cans of beef broth; use third can if more liquid is needed later. Add crushed tomatoes, carrot strips and zucchini. Cook together several minutes, then add chopped cabbage. Add seasonings to taste; you can use salt and pepper. Simmer for approximately a half-hour. Add the browned ground meat and pre-cooked rice last. Incorporate everything together, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for another half-hour or until cabbage is to your liking.
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