Words of Remembrance for Janet A. Mattei
I have been kept abreast by Chryssa Kouveliotou about Janet Mattei's condition over the past period. It is with great sadness that I heard of her passing away today. May I offer you and the entire AAVSO my sincere condoleances on the tragic loss of Janet, both on behalf of myself and on behalf of my colleagues of the astronomical institute of the University of Amsterdam. Many of us knew Janet personally and admired her energy and style in promoting the AAVSO. We will greatly miss her. —Ralph Wijers (The Netherlands)
Upon receiving the news of the demise of my dear friend Janet Mattei I was sent in a deep sorrow. She was the loving and beloved astronomer of our community, world astronomers as a whole. We will deeply and sorrowfully feel her absence. May I beg of you, please extend my condolence to her loving and beloved ones. — Dr. E. Rennan Pek�nl� (Turkey)
I was deeply sorry to hear of Janet's passing. She was an international treasure - one of a kind. Please pass on my sincere condolences to Mike and everyone. —Keith Mason (UK)
This is truly tragic news, especially as she seemed to have won the battle she fought.
I first met Janet at the Hawaii spring meeting, and though not very significant observer from Australia she greeted me and knew me from the first moment. Everyone has commented on her warmth, her ability to bring out the best in everyone. Can I add what I saw, a steely determination to excel, and to help others to excel, and to love astronomy and the world in a productive way. Her determination never was in conflict with her warmth and caring, and that is an entirely remarkable thing.
My wife Lyn joins in offering deepest condolences to Mike and family, and to the other family at AAVSO headquarters and the wider world. —Tom Richards
I am so sorry to hear about Janet. Carl Feehrer informed me last night of her death and I was deeply saddened by the news. After the first round and recovery, I had taken it for granted that Janet would certainly pull through and she would once again be there with you all at Headquarters. I guess that is not to be so. Please accept my heartfelt condolences to all of you. You had a great person to work for all these years and I'm sure you will miss her greatly as all of us will. —Mike Hill
Dr. Janet Mattei was a longtime friend of the Astronomical League, and she was a strong voice for amateur astronomers everywhere. It is with great sadness that I forward this message. She will be greatly missed. —Robert L. Gent, President, Astronomical League
I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Janet Mattei's family, friends and colleagues at AAVSO, and to let them know that my thoughts are with them at this very sad time. —Mary Chibnall (UK)
We are very sorry for the death of Dr. Janet Mattei and we express to you our condolences. —Nick Stoikidis (Greece)
Shocked by this sudden event, I ask you to present AAVSO, husband and relatives of Janet our sentiments of pain and love for her. God bless all of you. —Giancarlo Favero, Gastone Favero and their families (Italy)
I am stunned and saddened to learn of Janet's death. Please convey my condolences to Mike and all the AAVSO staff.
She was a very special person, full of energy and able to bring the best out of all of us. She walked among the amateurs and professionals with equal ease and rapport. She was the keystone of the AAVSO. —Al Holm
I am so sorry. Please pass on my sincere condolences to her family. —Roger Blandford
I was devastated last night hearing about Janet. My sympathies go to you and the entire staff there at headquarters. I apologize if those words sound trite but I'm really at a loss. I doubt that any words will comfort Mike at this point but my thoughts are with him. Her passing brings home to me the impermanence of all of our lives and all things.
I've always kind of envied you HQ folks ... you guys got to spend your working days with Janet. It must have been very special. Janet obviously touched many lives ... the world over. I can't speak for them but for myself she was one of the special people over the course of my life. I guess I just stood kind of in awe of her. Her strength, intelligence, wit, dedication, but mostly her kindness toward others I will always remember. She was a combination of the most marvelous talents but her real genius was in the way she treated those she came in contact with. I think she made us all feel special. The world would be a much better place if more of us were like her in our hearts.
This morning when I was walking my dog I noticed the sun coming up. It always seems to do that if we take the time to look. This world felt a good bit emptier today. But in those first rays I knew she lives on in my memory and the memories of countless others. I am a very lucky person to have known her. —Jack Davis
We are all feeling a great loss right now, with the loss of Janet, who was a very special person, which is quite evident on the number of people she met and touched.
I first met Janet in 1999 at the Toronto conference with the ASP and the RASC.
I would like to send a card on behalf of the RASC and myself. Could you please let me know the mailing address at which to send it. —Kim Hay (Canada)
This is a sad day for all of us. My condolences to family and friends.
I will light a candle under the stars for Janet.—Mika Luostarinen (Finland)
I am shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Dr. Janet Mattei.
The AAVSO has lost a memorable leader, Michael has lost a beautiful wife, and the Astronomy community has lost a giant. —Bill Black
I would like to extend my deepest condolences to you and the rest of the AAVSO organization concerning Janet's passing. It was a bit surprising to me considering the upbeat tone of her March 8th message.
I knew Janet for quite a long time and considered her one of my best friends and most valued collaborators in astronomy. I will miss her. —John Cannizzo
My sincere condolences to Dr Mattei's family and the staff at the AAVSO. —Dominique Naillon (France)
Dear members of the AAVSO Staff: I'm very sad for that bad news, so I want to send my personal message in my original language: Estoy muy apenado por tan irreparable perdida. Desde que conoc� la AAVSO y comenc� a enviar mis estimas en 1986, Janet Mattei era para m� sin animo de Estrellas Variables, y siempre lo ser� ya que estar� permanentemente en mi recuerdo. Mis m�s sinceras condolencias para sus allegados y familiares. —Pablo Alberto Ingrassia (Argentina)
I would like to send my sincere condolences to Janet's family and close friends.
A very sad moment and quite a shock for me. She will be greatly missed. —Gianni Roselli (Italy)
To all at AAVSO, may I express our sincerest condolences. May Janet rest in peace, she will live ever on in our memories. We remember her fondly and especially her last stay with us in December 2002.
Thank you so very much for keeping us informed of her situation the last months. —Tim Cooper and family (South Africa)
We are so very sorry, especially as the last letter was from Janet herself, and she seemed to be improving! Deepest condolences to the family and all who admired her in this world.
On behalf of all at the Harare Centre of A.S.S.A. —Mike Begbie (Zimbabwe)
Accept my condolences from an occasion of tragedy. Death of the great person, the astronomer which with all ways encouraged amateur and professional astronomy. Advanced small astronomers on a way to success. In my memory this person was remembered by that that could help as with membership AAVSO and simple advice
Let the ground will be to her down..... —Vladimir Slusarenko (Ukraine)
I wish to participate adding my commotion and grief for the premature loss of Janet Mattei. Although I have met her only a few times (first time in 1981 in Santa Cruz) I felt that a strong friendship linked us together, and it was a renewed pleasure to meet her again.
Please forward my condolence to her husband. —Francesca d'antona (Italy)
I was so very sorry to hear the sad news of Janet, just when we were hoping she had got past the worst of her problems.
These things are always so final and we can't do anything to change the situation. We just have to accept what has happened and try to carry on as we know she would want us to. I believe the greatest memorial we can give her is to keep AAVSO strong with continuing growth well into the future. She gave us lots of motivation, now lets make her proud of how well we can get on by ourselves. —Cliff Turk (South Africa)
It is a sad time indeed. When I received word of Janet's death, three words went through my mind - "What a waste. What a waste to lose such a loving humanitarian with an extraordinarily superb mind. What a waste to lose such a mentor who had the desire and ability to share herself and what she knew with so many people all over the world. What a waste to lose such a caring individual. As these three words kept reverberating through my mind, it occurred to me that these same words had raced through my head on 2 other occasions when I had lost people close to me. The most recent occasion was a little over a year ago when my nephew, Willie, was suddenly taken from us.
Like Janet, Willie was a loving humanitarian, a mentor, and had an extraordinarily superb mind. He finished 2nd in his class of 1083 at the Naval Academy and went on to earn 2 masters degrees before becoming a naval test pilot. When Willie died, I could not help but think - "What a waste".
I just had to get out today and go for a bike ride, an activity that is always relaxing for me. Throughout my ride, thoughts of Janet and Willie raced through my head, and those 3 haunting words accompanied those thoughts. Then it was as if I was hit solidly over the head with the realization that the passings of Janet and Willie were NOT a waste. They would be only if I let them be. Although you did not know Willie personally, I know that you knew of him. Willie McCool died on the morning of Feb.1, 2003 with 6 other equally exceptional persons aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Willie was the pilot on that mission. Why, we ask, must people like Janet and these 6 astronauts be taken from us when they still have so much to offer? I came to realize that they still have much to offer.
The space program goes on, and so will AAVSO. Because of the Columbia accident, shuttles will be made better. This accident will inspire our engineers to develop and construct more advanced methods of space exploration. And the knowledge that each of these astronauts brought to humanity will live on. Likewise, Janet's passing will not be in vain, and her guidance will not be a thing of the past. As we head through the tunnel of grief and pain seeking the opening at the other end, the light that we see at the end of that tunnel will not be a freight train. It will be Janet beckoning us to move quickly out of the tunnel because there is much for us to do at AAVSO.
Janet now joins the crews of Columbia, Challenger, and Apollo 1. She may have passed on in a physical sense, but she smiles down upon us from her place in the stars. Janet's spirit remains strongly beside us and within us as we continue our AAVSO journey.
May your God be with you through this difficult time, and may Janet's spirit and strength continue to guide AAVSO. —Keith Graham
We are deeply shocked by the news of Janet's death, and our thoughts and prayers are for her family and friends.
Our personal acquaintance with Janet was very slight. I met her in Manchester for a few hours, and we have corresponded by email a few times. But she changed our lives, astronomically speaking. It must have been the same for so many others, in many parts of the world.
We had been so pleased to read her last email of March 8, looking forward to a complete cure. God Bless you all. —Pam Kilmartin and Alan Gilmore.
What can one say about Dr.Janet Mattei that has not already been said about her passion for astronomy and the help she always gave to amateur astronomers. It was a sad day for all amateurs and astronomy as a whole.
One can say that she is now at rest among the stars. —Michael Boschat (Canada)
In a phone call of condolence to Mike, I was shaken to hear Janet's soft, gentle voice on the answering machine today. I was a shock that she was here yet she was gone. Her spirit is in the heavens for all of us. I first met her after witnessing the launch of Apollo 14. Mike persuaded us to travel off our return route to the hills of West Virginia to meet his friend. She was hard at work on her doctoral thesis, and despite the obvious disruption to her train of thought, took the time to give us a tour of the Alvan Clark telescope. She had the same friendly concern as her predecessor, Margaret Mayall, and gave her total attention to one's questions. How hard is it to observe R Cor Bor?
She was always concerned about you, not her personal importance. My last visit was just before she was diagnosed. Janet had been working very hard, as always, and travelling most of the summer and into the fall. She had become very tired but joined us for a while. Our conversation turned to her homeland of Turkey. She brightened and offered to make her special Turkish Tea for us. I will never forget how good that tea tasted. It was made with love.
Mike and Janet loved the stars and were in love with each other. God bless them, Shalom, 'til we meet again, —Paul Valleli
I feel as though the world has lost a star, but in a way, Janet has returned to the stars and all we have to do to capture her again is look up. I think that's what she'd want.
Janet was so kind to everyone, helpful, and encouraging. She urged my dad to continue with his sunspot work and showed great admiration for his years of sunspot sketching. The afternoon she spent with him means so much to him.
Janet was a friend and a colleague and I shall miss her greatly. —Carolyn Collins Petersen
Goodbye dear Janet! Thanks for your friendship, and your dedication to us, variable star observers. I wil always remember your warm personality, especially while observing variable stars. We met in Cambridge (Ma), Leiden, The Hague,Brussels and Bourbon-Lancy. I will never forget these moments, Janet! —Georg Comello (The Netherlands)
Janet Mattei, 1943 - 2004
Astronomy, and particularly the study of variable stars, has suffered a great loss with the untimely death of Janet Mattei. Janet has played a major role in the development of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), and in fostering collaboration between amateur and professional astronomers. Her work on digitizing the AAVSO archival data has created an invaluable database for the study of long-term stellar variability, of a nature that will be almost impossible to match with professional observations. Her wonderful personality and enthusiasm has been an inspiration to all of us.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with Janet in Commission 27 of the International Astronomical Union. However, my most memorable experience with her, and one of the most memorable experiences in my career, was at a very successful NATO Advanced Study Institute organized by Professor Cafer Ibanoglu at Cesme, close to Izmir and near Janet's birthplace. Needless to say, Janet played a very prominent role in both the scientific and social activities of the meeting. Her talk on the AAVSO results on red-giant variables indicated that there might be a relation between semi-regular variables and the solar and solar-like oscillations, both being excited stochastically by convection. This led to our, unfortunately only, joint publication (ApJ 562, L141).
Together with the rest of the astronomical community I shall always treasure and honour the memory of Janet Mattei and her contributions to our science. Surely the best way to do so is to maintain our enjoyment and awe at the starry sky, and continue our activities, amateurs and professionals together, on unconvering the secrets of stars and stellar variability.
—Joergen Christensen-Dalsgaard President, Division V (Variable Stars)
International Astronomical Union
A new variable star is shining in the sky: goodbye Janet —Sergio Foglia (Italy)
I find it very difficult to write to this address. I always wrote to Janet directly and I never thought this moment would came. I knew what she was going through but in January I talked to Mike and he told me she was recovering thanks to a new kind of therapy. When yesterday a friend called me to tell me the sad news I was (and still am) shocked.
I have known Janet since 1995, when she came to Italy to receive the Lacchini award from the Unione Astrofili Italiani. While here she took a small tour of Italy and I had the honor and privilege of being her host in Milan for 3 days. She came to visit our small observatory near the city and she left such a great impression that everyone in my club still remember that evening like it happened yesterday. These few days together started a friendship that lasted until now, Janet was such a special person that made you feel welcome in her life like she knew you since ever.
I have been to Boston a few times and she always found the time to spend with me at least an afternoon or an evening, despite all the work she had to do.
In this sad moment I cry not for the loss of an excellent professional who literally changed the world of amateur astronomy, but for the loss of a personal friend.
My prayers are for her and for Mike, I hope he may find some comfort in knowing we all are close to him and share this tragic loss. —Roberto Boccadoro (Italy)
Last Updated: July 1, 2010 - 10:35am