Marie DiMatties Wins Citizen of the Year!
Congratulations to Marie! Below you will find all the details of Marie's impressive life, career, and service to the community. Haddonfield is lucky to count her as one of our own!
Marie DiMatties was born in Shenandoah, PA, grew up in Philadelphia, PA and Turnersville, NJ, earned a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University, and moved to Haddonfield in 1971. Since that date, Haddonfield has been Marie’s hometown in every sense of the word. Haddonfield is where Marie put down her roots, raised her family and developed lifelong friendships. While living here, she built a career as an occupational therapist, recognized throughout south Jersey for her expertise in the growing field of school-based occupational therapy. At the same time, Marie has been an active and involved volunteer, making commitments to and assuming leadership responsibilities in Haddonfield organizations with a focus on education and assisting children and women in achieving their potential.
Marie’s two children have followed career paths that reflect their mother’s interest in education. Her daughter Michelle, who lives in Haddonfield with her family, is a school social worker; her son David, a Philadelphia resident, is a middle school math teacher. Marie is the proud grandmother of one grandson and one granddaughter.
When Marie first moved to Haddonfield, she was one of a handful of occupational therapists in south Jersey. O.T. was an emerging field, and most school districts did not have an occupational therapist on staff. Marie was in the vanguard of bringing O.T. to school systems, working for a time at Larc School and serving as an O.T. consultant for a number of school districts, including Haddonfield.
In 1980 Marie joined the faculty of the Pennsauken School District as an occupational therapist. While working in Pennsauken, she developed a gross and fine motor curriculum for preschoolers and brought a handwriting program (“Handwriting Without Tears”) to the district. Marie authored two books on the use of occupational therapy in education, and she conducted professional workshops to teach educators how to incorporate O.T. into the classroom. While working in Pennsauken, Marie returned to school herself to earn an M.S. in Occupational Therapy from Temple University. She has been recognized for her work by the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA), receiving an Award of Merit in Pediatrics, an Award of Merit in Education and the NJOTA President’s Award. Marie retired from her position in the Pennsauken schools in 2005 after 25 years of service.
Marie’s volunteer service did not begin with retirement, but has always been a part of her life. Over the course of forty plus years, Marie has been an active member of, and assumed a leadership role in each of, The Haddon Fortnightly’s three divisions – the Junior Woman’s Club, the Evening Membership Department (EMD), and the General Club. As she has helped guide The Haddon Fortnightly through changing times, she has also assumed leadership responsibilities at the state level, through board positions and offices with the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs (NJSFWC).
Marie began her long association with The Haddon Fortnightly in 1974 when she joined the Junior Woman’s Club. In Juniors, Marie served as Social Services Chairman, chair of various ways and means projects and as President from 1978-1980.
In 1981, Marie transferred to the Evening Membership Department, the largest in New Jersey with over 150 members. Marie immediately became active, serving as Recording Secretary, First Vice Chairman, and then EMD Chairman from 1987-1989. The EMD thrived during her tenure, adding more activities and projects for the members. After her term as EMD Chairman, Marie continued her service in various positions including Ways and Means Chairman, Education Chairman, and Trustee to The Haddon Fortnightly. From 1989-1991, she served as Membership Chairman on the EMD State Board.
In 2009, Marie transferred to the General Club of The Haddon Fortnightly. There she has continued to assume a leadership role at both the local club level and as a Board member and officer of the NJSFWC. Marie has served as the General Club’s Federation Secretary, 2nd Vice President, and President from 2012-2016. Marie is chairing the 125th Anniversary Celebration of The Haddon Fortnightly being held in 2019, and she currently serves as NJSFWC Financial Secretary.
The hallmarks of Marie’s leadership style (as evidenced in her role with The Haddon Fortnightly and other volunteer organizations) have been her understanding and respect for the organization’s history and traditions, her vision in imagining the challenges and opportunities of the future, and her careful and thoughtful planning for the best way to grow and thrive in the future. Using these skills, Marie has played a major role in helping The Haddon Fortnightly evolve into a 21st century volunteer organization. She has chaired many groundbreaking projects and new events, including the creation of a Membership Handbook and the development of a recruitment brochure for the club. She was instrumental in updating The Haddon Fortnightly website and expanding the club’s social media presence, to help increase awareness of The Haddon Fortnightly and to promote rentals of the club’s historic clubhouse at the corner of Kings Highway and Grove Street. Marie has guided the club on a path of careful planning for the preservation and maintenance of the historic clubhouse, funded in large part by a growing and highly successful rentals program.
Marie is only the second “triple crown” winner in The Haddon Fortnightly’s long history, having served as President of each of its three divisions. Marie’s name was placed on the Honor Roll of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs in 2017.
While her children attended the Haddonfield schools, Marie was an active member of the Home and School Associations (now PTAs) of Central School, the Middle School and Haddonfield Memorial High School. Her years of volunteer work with the HSAs culminated in 1990-1991, when she served as President of Town Board (now known as Zone PTA), the umbrella organization for all of Haddonfield’s parent teacher groups.
Marie served as a member of the Haddonfield Library Board of Trustees, where she held the position of Recording Secretary. She has also been involved with the Haddonfield First Night Committee and the Haddonfield Historical Society.
Marie’s most recent volunteer undertaking has been her service as a Trustee of the Haddonfield Foundation Board. She serves as a member of the Development Committee, lending her support to the Foundation’s fundraising efforts. As the chair of the Grants Committee, Marie’s organized approach to handling grant requests assures that requests are handled and evaluated promptly and appropriately publicized, all of which are essential to the Foundation’s operation and compliance with its mission.
Those who have worked with Marie, either in her work as an educator or a volunteer, praise her for her dedication, energy, enthusiasm and responsibility. She manifests a strong commitment to education, volunteerism and philanthropy. She leads by identifying and recruiting talented people, delegating responsibility to them, and inspiring and motivating them to rise to meet new challenges.
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