Marylu Mattson

Retired Sonoma State University Professor Marylu Mattson's academic pursuits spanned from the research of metabolic disorders to censorship in Victorian literature.

Mattson taught from 1970 to 1992 and helped develop curriculum for the university's then-experimental Hutchins School of Liberal Studies.

Mattson died Dec. 30 at Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol from complications following heart surgery. She was 79.

"She was truly a Renaissance woman, she did everything and did it well," said her partner of 35 years, Linda Day of Guerneville. "I was simply in awe of her."

Mattson was born Sept. 12, 1933, in Los Angeles to Fred and Lucile Mattson.

She attended grammar school in central Los Angeles until her family moved to a San Fernando property with a beloved horse and an eucalyptus grove.

Mattson graduated from Mission San Fernando High School in 1951 and studied microbiology, chemistry and English at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles.

She entered a doctorate program in literature at UC Los Angeles but continued her scientific research, working at UCLA's hematology research laboratory and other labs.

She took a summer off to study sculpture and print-making in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She joined an archeological excavation in Europe before delving into the London libraries to finish her dissertation: "Censorship and the Victorian Drama."

Mattson was a lecturer at UCLA's English Department from 1968 until 1970, when she joined the Sonoma State faculty.

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