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Lida Holmes Mattman
Lida Mattman Lida Mattman
Lida Mattman

August 19, 2008

Lida Mattman: WSU prof was a state Hall of Famer


Lida Mattman, a professor of microbiology at Wayne State University for more than three decades, whose contributions as a researcher and author earned her a spot in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, died Aug. 6 at the Golden Years Retreat in Essexville.

The cause of death was a form of liver failure. She was 96.

Mrs. Mattman was recognized for her work with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lou Gehrig's disease, scleroderma and Parkinson's. Her book, "Cell Wall Deficient Forms," written in 1974, was regarded as an invaluable education tool among researchers, students and physicians in the field of microbiology.

"Like the ripple effect upon the water, the influence of a great teacher never ceases, and that basically defines the type of positive effect she had upon me and countless other students," said James Gray, a former pupil and current microbiology professor at Wayne County Community College. "If you were willing to be there she would work with you in the lab all night long as an adviser."

Born Lida Holmes in Denver, she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in microbiology and virology respectively from the University of Kansas and a doctorate in immunology from Yale University in 1940.

In addition to doing research at the universities of Iowa and Pennsylvania, she served as director of clinical laboratories for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and was an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

After she married Dr. Paul E. Mattman in 1944, the couple moved to Detroit.

Mrs. Mattman joined the Wayne State faculty in 1949 and is credited with ushering thousands of would-be doctors and nurses into the medical profession. She was awarded the university's President's Award for Outstanding Teaching and Research in 1977. She retired in 1982, and was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2005.

Survivors include a daughter, Sandra Augustine; a son, Dr. Paul H. Mattman, and five grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Aug. 31 in the Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore Drive, Grosse Pointe.

Contact JOE ROSSITER at 313-222-6594 or

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