After twelve courageous years of living with cancer, Mary Mathews died on October 10, 2013, in Novato. Mary was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1959. Her parents, George and Julia Mathews, moved to California later that year where George began a teaching career. Mary grew up in San Anselmo and attended Sir Francis Drake High School, graduating in 1977. In the two years that followed she attended the University of Oregon, majoring in sociology. Mary left Oregon to pursue her musical and artistic passions. Returning to Marin she lived in Fairfax and performed in many small musical venues in the 1980s and 1990s. Her watercolors can be found in several homes and offices in the greater Bay Area, and in the homes of each of her three brothers - David, Daniel and Martin. She eventually returned to college, earning bachelors and masters degrees from San Francisco State University. Mary was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and underwent successful treatment at that time. Shortly thereafter she joined the staff at the Marin Center for Independent Living where she worked as an advocate for people who faced severe problems in life with nowhere else to turn. Many were women like Mary who faced breast cancer diagnoses but who lacked health insurance. Mary became an expert in getting care for these women and helping them through COBRA, mediCAL and Medicare. In her decade at the MCIL Mary was frequently recognized for her outstanding work. In the spring of 2013 Mary's cancer returned and she again underwent chemotherapy treatments. She kept her spirits up through music and art, and for the first time allowed her watercolors to be publicly displayed at the Two Bird Cafe in San Geronimo. She is survived by her mother, Julia, brothers Daniel and Martin Mathews and her twin brother David Mathews. She was a truly loving aunt to her nieces and nephews with whom she shared her creative passions and love of life. A memorial for Mary will be held at the Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael on the 12th of January, 2014. In lieu of flowers please feel free to make donations to the Marin Center for Independent Living (http://www.marincil.org/).
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2013