Alabama Academy of Honor

George A. Mattison, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1976.

George A. Mattison, Jr., a Birmingham industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Talladega in 1898.

During World War I Mr. Mattison served as a lieutenant in the United State Army. After the war ended, he returned to Auburn, where he finished the requirements for B.S. degree in 1919. In the same year he and his father formed the Woodstock Slag Corporation in Anniston, and Mr. Mattison's career as an executive was launched.

In 1922 the Mattisons moved the company to Birmingham, where with Mr. Mattison, Jr., at the helm, they transformed the slag from the city's blast furnaces into a valuable road-building material. The company prospered, and Mr. Mattison acquired considerable influence within the slag and aggregate industries. For five years he served as the president to the National Slag Association, and throughout his career he was a leading member of the American Concrete Institute, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the Southern Association of Science and Industry. In his home state he was also a valued member of the Southern Research Institute, the president of the Associated Industries of Alabama, an a director of the Alabama Road Builders Association. Even after he sold the Woodstock Slag Corporation in 1955, he kept up his ties with the industry, and remained as president of the Houston Slag Materials Company and Hurock, Inc., slag and aggregate firms that he acquired during the 1940's and 50's.

Throughout his career Mr. Mattison helped to promote the growth of the Birmingham economy. In 1942 and again in 1948 he served as the president of the city's Chamber of Commerce. Among the notable achievements of his administration were the location in Birmingham of the Bechtel-McCone airplane modification plant, the Rheem Manufacturing Company, and the Alabama Medical College.

He also held the highest offices in a variety of other civic organizations, serving at one time or another as the president of the Birmingham Kiwanis Club and the Traffic and Transportation Club, the commander of the American Legion Gorgas Post Number 1, and the captain of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club. In the realm of philanthropy he served in 1942 as the director of the Birmingham USO Appeal, in 1943 as the chairman of the Jefferson County War and Community Chest, and in 1945 as the state chairman of the annual fund drive of the March of Dimes.

Through his membership in the Shrine, he also took a leading role in the expansion of the Crippled Children's Hospital and Clinic in Birmingham. A shriner since 1921, Mr. Mattison became the chairman of the Shrine-sponsored Thanksgiving day football game in 1940 and held that post for more than twenty years. His dedication to the game prompted his appointment to the hospital's board of directors in 1943 and to the presidency of the board in 1952. And from 1960 to 1961, when he served as the Imperial Potentate of the Shrine in North America, he oversaw the operations of all the other Shrine hospitals in the United States and Canada and supervised the activities of the 835, 000 North American shriners as well.

Mr. Mattison was a Mason for more than 50 years and was a member of both the York and Scottish rites. He also belonged to the Anniston Commandery of the Knights Templars, the St. Dunstable Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, and Court No. 127 of the Royal Order of Jesters. Since his college days, he belonged to Omicron Delta Kappa, and since his graduation, he was active in Auburn alumni activities. In Birmingham he was a member of the Church of the Advent, and the Mountain Brook Club, the Club, the Downtown Club, and the Birmingham Country Club.

In 1924 he married the former Ernestine Carriger of Decatur. They had three children. He is now deceased.