Janet Akyüz Mattei was born in Bodrum, Turkey on January 2, 1943.

The memorial of her life by the American Association of variable Star Observers (AAVSO) told of their love affair:
Janet Akyüz Mattei (1943-2004) and the AAVSO were meant to be part of each other's lives. In 1969, Janet was teaching and working towards a Master of Science degree in her native Turkey when she learned about the summer research program under Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit at Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket. That year Janet was introduced to variable stars and the AAVSO — and her future husband, Michael Mattei — on Nantucket: variable stars in her research with Dorrit, and Mike and the AAVSO through its meeting held there in October. A brilliant student and young scientist of great promise with an outgoing and enthusiastic personality, Janet was hired as AAVSO Director Margaret Mayall's assistant in 1972. When Margaret decided to retire, Janet was selected by the AAVSO Council in October 1973 to succeed Margaret as Director, a position she held for over 30 years until her death on March 22, 2004.

The Society for the History of Astronomy writes:
Mattei went on to serve as director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) from 1973 to 2004 where she actively encouraged the participation of amateur astronomers in variable star observing. Her duties at AAVSO included collecting together observations of variable stars made by amateur astronomers from around the world, as well as organising programmes of observing between professional astronomers and amateur observers. Among the many awards she won were the Leslie Peltier Award of the Astronomical League (1993) and the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1995). The minor planet 11695 Mattei, discovered on 22 Mar 1998 during the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search (LONEOS) from the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named in her honour.

Mona Evans
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