Gloria Dunkley Mattson lived life to the fullest until she passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at a youthful 87. She was born in Caldwell, Idaho on October 21, 1930, and spent her earliest years in the farming community of Preston, Idaho. She spoke fondly of drinking fresh milk from her grandfather’s cows in her little tin cup.
She was the oldest of four children and watched over her siblings while her mother went back to school in Logan, Utah to receive her college degree. Gloria moved with her family to Los Angeles in the 8th grade and at the sweet age of 16, met her love and future husband, Walter Mattson, on a blind date to a formal dance.
As she and her girlfriends watched the dates enter the house, she said, “I hope mine is the red head!” Sure enough he was, and four years later they married on January 3, 1951 in the Mesa, Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Gloria supported her husband as he served a church mission in Sweden and joined him afterward to tour Europe, settling in Germany, where he was stationed to support post-Korean-War efforts.
Gloria led a vibrant life and had a voracious thirst for learning and reading. She received her undergraduate degree from Long Beach State College and her master’s degree in library science from USC. She was a teacher and librarian throughout her life, first in the Long Beach Unified School District and then for the County of San Diego libraries, primarily Fallbrook. She always found the perfect book as a gift and constantly mailed news or magazine articles to her family on interesting topics.
Her first love was her family. She was a fierce advocate, nurturer, supporter and educator to her daughter, Cami, and son, Garth. Their family homes were transformed into learning centers and family vacations were accompanied with books to highlight the sights and attractions.
She was very active in her children’s and grandchildren’s lives and loved to gather everyone at her Fallbrook home. Seldom did she miss a sporting event, dance or theater performance, baptism or graduation. Gloria was interested in the lives of all her relatives. With support of her husband, she welcomed her niece, Leson, to live with them at the tender age of 15 and supported her as a daughter throughout her life.
Gloria and Walter loved to travel with their family exploring the cultures, history and stunning landscapes of the world, which they enjoyed into the final month of her life. She found peace and comfort in nature and enjoyed morning walks and spending peaceful evenings on her back-porch swing in Fallbrook, overlooking the eastern mountains.
Gloria’s passion for life included collecting art and watching musical performances. She rarely missed a show from her season tickets to the Moonlight Amphitheater.
Gloria was an active volunteer in her Fallbrook community. One of her greatest joys was reading in the kindergarten and elementary classrooms where for 20 years, she read to the children every Tuesday, sharing clever books and wearing holiday costumes.
She also volunteered with Friends of the Fallbrook Library, facilitating book talks, working at its Bottom Shelf book store, and supporting immigrants with citizenship preparation.
Gloria spent devoted years with her husband as a valuable temple volunteer and researched extensively her family genealogy. She had a continuous desire for developing her mind, body, and spirit to accomplish her mission on this earth. She exercised regularly and was always experimenting with healthy recipes, but could never pass up a dark chocolate nut!
Gloria’s smile, fun-loving nature, zest for life and love of family and
friends will truly be missed. We have all been blessed to have been part
of her incredible journey.
She is survived by her husband, Walter; children, Garth (Peggy) Mattson and Cami Mattson; brother, Lynn (Janice) Dunkley; sister, Faye (Brad) Gosche; and her grandchildren, Jenna (Daniel) Fletcher, Eric Mattson, Rebecca Mattson, and Bryce Mattson; adopted grandchildren, Alys Hansen, James Hansen, Austin Hansen, and Emma Hansen. She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Grace Dunkley; brother Reed Dunkley; and niece-like-daughter Leson Hansen.
A tribute to Gloria Mattson’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 11. Please join us at the Fallbrook Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 621 Stagecoach Lane, Fallbrook CA 92028.