Jean McKenzie Mattern was born on January 28, 1922 in Yalesville, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Adele Marie Svenson and Malcolm McKenzie. She spent her early years in Connecticut, moving to Swampscott, Massachusetts with her mother during the depression where they lived with her mother’s extended family.
Jean graduated Swampscott High School and earned her baccalaureate degree from Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following graduation she was employed in the defense industry with the General Electric Company in Lynn, Massachusetts where she met John Mattern, a recent electrical engineering graduate from John Hopkins University. They were married on November 18, 1944. Following WWII, they lived in Schenectady and Syracuse where their two eldest children were born. They settled in Catonsville, Maryland in 1952 and raised three daughters Carole, Betsy and Sally. John continued his engineering career at Westinghouse and Jean beginning her career in social work.
Over the next twenty years she worked for the Baltimore City Department of Welfare, the Howard County Department of Social Services, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a home for emotionally challenged young women. In the 1970’s Jean decided to change careers to pursue her love of books and bought Deed’s Old Books in Ellicott City. There she spent the next twenty years collecting and selling used and rare books. Jean was especially drawn towards children illustrated books and her favorite authors were Robert Louis Stevenson, Willa Cather and Elizabeth Wharton. She developed many friends in the Ellicott City community and became an advocate for the historic town.
When not working at Deed’s, Jean spent her leisure time sailing the Chesapeake Bay with John on their boat, the Scroobius Pip, a character in one of her favorite poems. Jean and John loved to travel to Florida on the autotrain and they also enjoyed driving up the East Coast into New England in search of rare books and visiting family. Jean cherished her friends who came from all walks of life –from her life as a social worker, her neighborhood in Catonsville, the sailing community of Middle River and her world of books and literature.
Jean was preceded in death by John in 2015. She is survived by her three daughters and their families: Carole and Mark McNamee of Sudbury, Massachusetts, Betsy and Keith Henry of Salisbury, Maryland; Sally and Bing Linhardt of Jackson, Wyoming; five grandchildren: Beth Matthesien, Mark McNamee, Michael Henry, Katie Reinholtz, Adelle Greenberg and Angie Linhardt and five great grandchildren.
There will be a graveside Memorial Service at the Swampscott Cemetery in the Spring. Jean requested that donations be given to the library of one’s choice.
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