We are saddened to share we have lost Dr. Janet Bell after 99 incredible years of a wonderful life. Dr. Bell was much more than a well-loved and respected pediatrician. Her impact in the Santa Cruz County community extended well beyond her profession, including serving as an engaged and passionate board member for multiple Santa Cruz County nonprofit organizations. Dr. Bell is a Board Member Emeritus for CASA of Santa Cruz County, having served on our Board of Directors many years ago. Her interest and care for the organization lasted for her entire life. We reached out to a number of those who led CASA over the years to share some of their memories of Dr. Bell.
From Susan True, Former Executive Director:
I wish to be as kind as Dr. Bell. I strive to be as wise. I hope to honor her special grace. She was appreciated often – sometimes I heard her thanked for delivering a baby, sometimes I saw people respond to her caring words, and many times I watched as her careful words changed a conversation. She always responded to these appreciations with that twinkling smile and generous respect. Dr. Bell’s care was evident in the health of children as it was in her Bonsai plants, in her board meeting discussions and in her deep involvement in local children’s issues. I feel so fortunate to have worked with Janet and to have learned from her. She is very much in my heart.
From Nancy Sherrod, Former Executive Director:
Dr. Bell lived her life making a difference and being a champion for the health and wellbeing of all the children and families of the Pajaro Valley. She was thoughtful, humble, inspiring, and deeply respected by whoever she encountered. And she was a "no nonsense" doer! I remember being amazed I was at how she fully participated in all aspects of the CASA board work, doing every step needed to bring on new board members, from doing the interview to creating packets for those prospective board members. Her insights, efforts and quiet dignity helped shape so many lives.
From Cynthia Druley, Former Executive Director:
I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Bell, Board Member Emeritus, when I first joined CASA. Then, at age 90, she was still energetically engaged in supporting CASA and the community and wanted to be kept abreast of everything that was happening. She was a trailblazer all her life and was proud of being the first woman physician in Watsonville; being a pediatrician brought her to the forefront of engagement in issues that supported children. Dr. Bell's questions were pointed, her counsel wise, and her smile was infectious. Her impact in the community will be long-lasting. We will hold our memories of her in our hearts forever.
From Lynne Petrovic, Current Executive Director:
Dr. Bell was an incredible person. She came to the house about 18 months ago. She couldn’t hear or walk very far, but she took the little elevator down and sat at the table just inside the back door of the house. She then proceeded to grill me on our outcomes. Sharp as a tack, she was. We communicated via a chalkboard she kept with her. We ate lunch together and in general I would say it was one of the highlights of my tenure at CASA. She was not focused on where CASA had been. Rather, she was 100% focused on where we were going and how we would get there. I am sad for her and her family for this loss.
To learn more about Dr. Janet Bell’s life including all of the good she did in the Santa Cruz County community over and beyond what she did for CASA, please read her obituary here.