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home : columnists : betsy reason December 14, 2017

12/6/2017 5:06:00 PM
Garrick Mallery's legacy will live on
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonGarrick Mallery smiles after he was recognized for his contributions to Noblesville Schools in 2016.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Garrick Mallery smiles after he was recognized for his contributions to Noblesville Schools in 2016.
Photo providedGarrick Mallery (right) poses with his son, John Mallery (middle) and grandson, Garrick Ryan Mallery (left) during an Aug. 26, 2016, dedication of Mallery Woods at White River Elementary, part of property that Noblesville Schools acquired from Mallery in 1992.
Photo provided

Garrick Mallery (right) poses with his son, John Mallery (middle) and grandson, Garrick Ryan Mallery (left) during an Aug. 26, 2016, dedication of Mallery Woods at White River Elementary, part of property that Noblesville Schools acquired from Mallery in 1992.

By Betsy Reason

Garrick Mallery was all about giving back to our youth and our community.

He was one of Noblesville Elementary Football League's Founders, a Hamilton County 4-H leader for 25 years, and a donor of his family's land to Noblesville Schools.

Mallery, whose rich Noblesville history and family roots date back to 1820, would have turned 90 on Dec. 21. Mallery died on Monday at Riverview Health, at age 89.

In the community, he was known for his giving spirit and having his helping hands in many projects.

He was the finance chairman for the construction of the Noblesville First United Methodist Church on Monument Street. He was former president and director of the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce. He organized the Hamilton County Health Department and Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District in the 1960s.

After playing Santa in stores, he played Santa at the first Noblesville Christmas Parade in 1962 and arrived on a Noblesville fire truck. "They shut off State Road 32," he said, laughing, during a 2016 interview. "I came downtown on top of that firetruck, and I never saw so many kids in my life."

He continued to play Santa throughout the 1960s, then again in 2012, at the parade's 50th anniversary. Then in 2016, he was the parade's grand marshal.

Mallery, whose family he said came here from Jamestown, N.Y., grew up during the Great Depression.

He was born and raised on a farm east of Noblesville and attended grade school at Durbin, which is now Hamilton Southeastern school district. "Wayne Township did not have a high school, so half of the kids on the west side went to Noblesville, and the kids on the east side went to Lapel," he said.

"Dad farmed about 300 acres with the help of me and my older brother. We never owned anything. I didn't inherit anything," Mallery told me.

"I started out with nothing," he said.

Mallery graduated in 1945 from Noblesville High School and attended Purdue University before he joined the U.S. Army in 1946, serving as a cryptography division security officer with "top secret clearance" in Washington, D.C. After two years, he returned to Purdue, where he was host for a weekly farm show on the college radio station and graduated with a degree in agricultural economics in February 1951.

During college, he started his career in real estate and made a name for himself developing, buying and selling property. When he first started, he sold farms to farmers in Fishers and Carmel, properties that are now built up with houses or businesses, he said.

Land that Mallery's family had owned and farmed at Cumberland Road and 191st Street today is the location of White River Elementary, which opened in 2000.

The elementary, and nearby cross country and soccer facilities were all built on former Mallery land that he had owned for 60 years. While Mallery sold 37 acres to the district, he donated an additional 40 acres to Noblesville Schools

On the land that he sold, Noblesville Schools built the school and what is now known as Mallery Woods, adjacent to White River Elementary. On the land that he donated is the soccer facilities, about half of the cross-country course and the maintenance building, a former farm market that Mallery built and operated as a project with his sons.

Mallery, who had five grandchildren who attended White River Elementary, posed for a photo in 2016 in front of a new Mallery Woods sign, during a dedication in his honor of the Chinquapin Ridge Outdoor Education Center at Mallery Woods, which is used by Noblesville Schools for outdoor student study and exploration.

"I sold the south end, and donated the north end," Mallery said, recalling the deal.

Prior to ownership by the Mallery family, the property was part of a land grant deed signed by President James Monroe in 1824. The historic deed is framed in historic barn wood from the site and is on display at the elementary.

Through the years, Mallery has owned a lot of land that he's sold and developed. He owned 78 acres at the northwest corner of 131st Street and Indiana 37 in Fishers, that he said became New Britton Commercial Park, "the first commercial park between Castleton and Noblesville," he said.

"I didn't inherit any of that," said Mallery, who worked hard all of his life for everything he had. "I believed in my business."

He said one time to friend Matt Cook, who asked about Mallery's key to success, to which Mallery replied, "You sign your name the same if you're borrowing a hundred dollars or if you're borrowing a million. Of course, you've got to pay it back."

He still owned 560 acres of farmland in Sheridan, where he kept and trained his Standardbred horses that he raced at Hoosier Horse Park in Anderson. Last year, he had five horses that he raced, and he joked about selling or giving them away.

Mallery was one of the founders of Noblesville Elementary Football League, which started with 90 kids and today has more than 900, and he has his name on one of the fields at Dillon Park where they play. He loved football and played the sport in high school. "I was a big guy back when I played," said Mallery, who played a tackle position.

He was also a Young Republicans chairman "back in those days," he said. "I've had a lot of fun getting people elected."

Mallery was on a three-person board appointed to spend two days recounting about 1,800 votes cast on paper ballots in the Nov. 8, 1955, general election in Noblesville, after Republican candidates for mayor, clerk-treasurer and two city counselors defeated Democratic challengers by just a few votes.

Mallery was proud of his family, and his community, and every organization in which he was involved. He was especially proud of the county health department, which he said was the "No. 1 health department in Indiana." He organized the health department in 1967 and, in July 2017, he was still chairman of the board and helped celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Mallery was all about doing good for the community, and he did.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, in 2009, after 54 years of marriage, and recently by his son, Fred Mallery, 57, Noblesville, who died 14 days ago, on Nov. 20.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Randall & Roberts Funeral Home on Logan Street in Noblesville, with visitation from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and one hour prior to services on Saturday.

Read the full obituary on Page 2 in today's edition of The Times.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

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