MTC Ernst and Ella Stuckey Scholarship Fund Helps Foster Love of Education

Written by on June 27, 2022

Dr. Bob Haas, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services/Chief Strategy Officer at Marion Tech; Tami Galloway, Vice President of the Marion Tech Foundation Board; Linda Erhlandson; Dr. Stephen Erlandson; Michelle Miller; Mike Stuckey, Director of the Marion Tech Foundation.

(Marion) Ernst and Ella Stuckey, a couple from Prospect, made education a priority in their lives and in the lives of their five children. Now, their grandchildren are starting a new scholarship fund in their memory.

“We can’t think of a better way to honor their memories than by helping others pursuing their educations to succeed,” said Dr. Stephen Erlandson, who founded the fund with his wife, Linda.

Ernst Stuckey’s family had moved to Prospect in the 1880s. The family owned a meat market. His father, John, and his brother, Rudolph, were butchers and firemen. His sister, Emma, taught English at the local German school.

Ernst met his wife, Ella, while they worked summer jobs at a hotel in Charlevoix, Michigan, around 1912. Ernst graduated from Western Reserve (now Case Western Reserve). Ella graduated from Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University.) The couple married in 1917 and settled in Marion. Ernst served in the U.S. Army in 1918 in France as a quartermaster. Ella taught school in Marion.

An undated photo of Ernst and Ella Stuckey provided by the family. Ernst Stuckey grew up in Prospect

After the war, Ernst worked as an accountant and business manager at Frank’s Department Store. They moved to Cherry Street and lived in their home there for 30 years. Their five children attended Marion City Schools: Lucille (Lucy), Kathryn (Kay), Virginia (Ginny), Barbara (Bobby) and John.

While the Great Depression added challenges, Ernst and Ella rose to meet them. Ernst worked two or three jobs. Ella made all of their clothes. No matter how tight times were, education was a priority.

“If you were a Stuckey, you went to college,” recalled Dr. Erlandson.

Two girls went to Miami University and two went to Ohio University. Their brother attended Ohio Northern University. The four girls became teachers while John became an attorney in Marion.

While the sisters and their families eventually moved away from Marion, they remained close. For many years they would visit together in Marion.
Kay’s son, Stephen, went to college to become a medical doctor. He met his wife in North Carolina. Erlandson’s parents divorced while he was in college and they could not support Stephen’s education. He relied on work-study jobs and financial aid.

“With a food budget of $5 a week, I sometimes skipped meals. The dean came to check on me because I had lost weight,” Stephen remembered.
“Many times, our date night was a bag of peanuts and a free movie,” Linda recalled.

Their struggles make them happy to help others succeed.

“An affordable education is really important. I encourage my patients to attend community college. We do not want someone to not be able to get ahead because of finances,” Stephen said.

The scholarship will prioritize students from Prospect who attend Marion Tech.

Stephen’s wife, Linda, instilled the value of education in their children, who both graduated from college. Their son has a Ph.D. in educational technology and is currently a curriculum specialist and online educational consultant. Their daughter who has master’s degrees in Education and School Psychology, now teaches at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada. The family is excited to help weave the thread of education through other families with this scholarship fund.

“It’s a great value for the money,” said Dr. Erlandson. “People really need it. College is life-changing if you can make it to that next step. “
Marion Tech serves a large number of students who are the first in their family to attend college, as well as a number of nontraditional students who juggle attending college and raising a family. The average student age is 27. Many are the first generation of their families to attend college.

“Your donation can really make a difference in the lives of a student from Marion Tech,” said Mike Stuckey, cousin of Stephen Erlandson and director of the Marion Tech Foundation. “It goes far.”

While many Marion Tech students juggle working full-time, raising a family, and attending college, the COVID-19 pandemic has made that even more challenging, causing enrollment to fall. The Erlandsons are excited to help students get to graduation.

“It is great to see a need and recognize that you can do something about it,” said Linda Erlandson.

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(Photo credit: Kirsten Pribula, Marion Technical College)

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