An iconic figure in our area known for both his role in professional sports well as his generosity has passed away.
Doctor Joseph Mattioli, the founder of Pocono Raceway, has died at the age of 86.
Rich Berkowitz, president of the Sherman Theater said the area has lost a great friend and benefactor.
Mattioli passed away with his wife Rose and his family at his side.
Berkowitz, who is also the president of the Stroudsburg Downtown Business Association said Mattioli and his wife did so much more than bring professional racing to the Poconos, they helped bring this area back to life.
In February 2007, the Mattioli’s donated one million dollars to create the Mattioli Main Street Fund which restored and now maintains downtown Stroudsburg.
“Which helps our beautification in downtown and really has aided to the renaissance going here,” said Berkowitz. “And of course they’ve made contributions to the hospital, the university and just to so many things. Their contributions to our region go way beyond the track.”
The man known affectionately as “Doc” brought NASCAR racing to the area after opening the track in the 1960’s.
Under his leadership, the raceway hosted the Sprint Cup Series twice a year for 68 years, bringing in thousands of NASCAR fans to the Poconos.
It’s the only family-owned track on the Spirit Cup Series schedule.
Berkowitz, with the blessings of the Mattioli’s and the raceway, started the Pocono Raceway Festival three years ago, as a way to bring those fans to downtown Stroudsburg.
The event has become a success for businesses on Main Street.
“We looked at the opportunity that the track brings to the region, with 100,000 people coming and we looked at downtown Stroudsburg and said it’s dead during race weekend,” said Berkowitz. “The Mattioli’s have been very, very supportive for the three years we’ve had the festival so far.”
Berkowitz said while Doc did so much to help the community financially, he will be remembered how he treated people personally.
“Always seemed interested in whatever someone was talking about, business-wise or personal-wise. I think that’s the longest legacy Doc will leave.”