Mary Corliss

Formerly known as Mary Gottlieb, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, August 13, 2013. She had lived in Davis since 1969.

She grew up in Bronxville, NY as the only child of Andreas and Mary Randel, both commercial artists. After graduating from Elmira College in upstate NY, she won a coveted Rotary International Fellowship to study literature in England at London University. Returning to New York, she worked at Time Magazine, interviewing Frank Sinatra, Marian Anderson, and other luminaries. She met her first husband, Leslie Gottlieb, while working for the New York Times.

Discovering a passion for teaching, Mary completed her M.A in English Education at New York University and taught college and high school English for eight years as the couple lived variously in Taos, NM, Ann Arbor, MI, and Corvallis, OR. After Leslie completed his Ph.D in genetics, he was offered a professor position at UCD, and they settled in the Willowbank area of Davis.

Concerned by the rampant pollution caused by agricultural field burning, she founded Ecology Action Davis, a local citizen activist group. In 1970, she served as chairman of the Yolo County Air Pollution Advisory Committee, before resigning in protest by what she felt was the committee's biased conflicts of interest. Her public resignation spurred important reforms to pollution control.

She gave up teaching during the 1970s and 1980s to concentrate on her family, raising two sons. In the1990's, she returned to teaching, becoming a passionate advocate for her students at the Davis School for Independent Study. She remarried to Bill Corliss, a fellow teacher, in 1998.

Retiring in 2000, she maintained a rich life of painting, travel, reading, gardening, and socializing. Active until her final days, she was lovingly surrounded by close family and friends when she passed.

Her family will always remember her bright spirit, humor, kindness, and passion for art and literature. She is survived by her husband Bill Corliss, and her sons Michael Gottlieb, of Davis, and David Gottlieb, of Los Angeles. From her second marriage, she is survived by daughter Heather and Steve Bohman of San Antonio, TX, son James Corliss of Santa Barbara, and seven grandchildren: James Jr, Ashley, Alyssa, Arianna, DJ, Benjamin, and Savannah.

A public memorial celebration of her life will be held Saturday, September 7, at Veterans Memorial, 203 E 14th St, Davis. Doors open at 1 p.m., and her life celebration begins promptly at 1:30 p.m.

Donations in Mary's memory may be made to the Life Raft Group at, which seeks a cure for GIST cancer.

Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Aug. 27 to Aug. 31, 2013