Joanne Bader MitchellOctober 10, 1959 ~ September 10, 2017 (age 57)
Joanne BADER MITCHELL, 57, of Gibson Island MD, died Sunday morning, September 10th, at Baltimore Washington Medical Center, after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Her husband of 27 years, was holding her hand.
Joanne was a beloved Physician in Pasadena MD, a Relief Society President, leader in the Primary Children’s organization in her church, youth Sunday School teacher, and Visiting Teacher.
She lived to serve, was a great listener, a loyal friend, a SCUBA diver, sailor, one time surfer, hiker, tennis and racquetball player, lap swimmer, a lifesaver filled with love, unselfish, and forgiving. If someone was in trouble or needed help she was there, in surgery, in the delivery suite, in the neighborhood or even on the roadside.
Joanne was born in Far Rockaway, New York. She grew up in a close knit family in Woodmere, with cousins next door, grandparents nearby and lots of family in her life.
The Frank Bader family moved to Stony Brook and then to Belle Terre still on Long Island, so they could fish and sail, having a boat for each, and putting them to good use for fun and putting fish on the table.
Joanne spent many summers at Shire Village, a whimsical camp near Cummington Massachusetts, with many of her relatives, and optionals including cloud watching. She made lifelong friends there eventually serving as a camper-worker.
Joanne graduated from Port Jefferson, NY High school at the top of her class. Next she graduated from Tufts University in Medford MA, and then took a year off to work in medical labs and as a phlebotomist.
While in the Boston area, she discovered Steve’s Ice Cream, which she considered the best in the world, worthy of hikes through winter snow for a cone. Many of the friends who hiked through the snow with her became physicians, and a network of friends she maintained throughout her life, to the benefit of all her patients.
She chose to return to her native land for Medical School, enrolling at Stony Brook. She met a grad student named Jeff in a SCUBA class the month before medical school began. Just under eight years later in her last year of residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School, they were married.
She came to Pasadena, MD where Jeff, who works in the computer industry lived, joining a medical practice with Linda Oaks in Glen Burnie. Later she opened a solo practice in Pasadena, delivering thousands of babies, including mother, daughter and granddaughter.
She was known for her dedication and hard work delivering a baby one day and giving birth to her own first daughter the next. When Ariel was in grade school she told her mom she wished she weren’t a doctor, and explained that she wanted her mom at her school events and parties and on the soccer fields with her. She said that every time something important came along, the phone would ring and her mom would be gone to deliver a baby.
Joanne took Ariel’s suggestion literally, and while it broke her heart, and to the dismay of her patients, she quit obstetrics and focused on gynecologic surgery and diagnosis and treatment. Of course this meant she got to know breast cancer well.
In 2000-01, Joanne survived DCIS and a mastectomy, and two reconstructions (the first failed). So, like having children improving her obstetrics, she knew personally what was happening in the medical lives of her patients. Her empathy came from experience. Her medical practice grew to thousands of patients, so that when she was forced into retirement by the diagnosis that finally killed her, she was replaced by a cadre of three or four doctors.
Still, because of what she gave up, Joanne was able to focus her life on her daughters Ariel, and Em. She scheduled office hours so she could drive them a half hour to school in the mornings and picked them up at the end of their days. She valued the time in the car for “girl talk” and music, coming to know her girls and experience their highs and lows as few mothers can. That lasted until Ariel learned to drive, and reluctantly she relinquished her role as school bus driver and opened more hours for patients again.
Sadly, five and a half years ago, she developed a cough and heard the news from her primary care physician that her breast cancer had returned and metastasized. She was told life would be shorter than it should be. She continued to practice but began scaling back and eventually merged her practice with the Women’s Medical Group at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, not wanting to leave her patients without a doctor.
She also trusted BWMC with her own treatment, and is thankful for the time they granted her. Far more time than most people get with this diagnosis. She values the Tate Cancer Center, Dr. Singh, Dr. Oh, and all the wonderful people who extended her life, shared wisdom, and made her comfortable. People who were on her team in good times and bad, who included her in their lives and saw they could share their troubles and joys with her. Of them and her fellow patients, she said: “These are my people now”.
She collected sea glass and made mobiles, signs, and gifts for friends, and neighbors. She played guitar and ukulele, and sang. She participated in her neighborhood Bible study and knitting groups, and was a nominal member of the Garden Club, paying her dues, but, liking to pick vegetables and flowers more than to plant them.
She also loved to travel insisting on an annual family vacation. With them, she explored most of the National Parks hiking many times to Delicate Arch, in their favorite park: Arches, near Moab Utah.
After her diagnosis, ever the planner, Joanne and Jeff explored burial sites in Moab and Castle Valley Utah. Ultimately they selected a peaceful site with a view of the Wasatch Mountains, in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, with her husband’s ancestors. She planted a Zelkova tree nearby five years ago, so she would have a little shade in the summer. It is doing nicely.
The favorite family trip was a pilgrimage to Israel which included a visit to the Western Wall, the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee, Qumran, the Golan Heights and the BYU Jerusalem Center, not to mention everyplace else. They stayed in a condo on the Mediterranean and were able to play tennis and swim laps to relax from learning.
After her diagnosis, she and Jeff spent three weeks in Hawaii, where they had first honeymooned in 1990. As they do, and have done on most trips, they swam side by side, 18 miles over those 21 days, Jeff trying hard to keep up with her pace.
She is missed by: parents Frank and Nancy Bader Copake NY; husband Jeff Mitchell Gibson Island; daughter Em Mitchell NYC; daughter Ariel(Taylor) Williams, grandson Theodore, Newark DE; brother Richard Bader Voorheesville NY; sister Toni (Claude) Goodman Lake Oswego OR; Eve (Reed) Stockdale Gurnee IL; Jon (Sharmyn) Mitchell Kannapolis NC; Steven (Sharyl) Mitchell Scottsdale AZ; and her 16 nieces and nephews: Daniel, Krystina, Jonathan, David, Michael, Jennifer, Sarah, Max, Liam, Hannah, Sam, Mathew, Joshua, Michael, Michelle, and Jake.
Funeral services 2PM on Saturday September 16 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (409 5th Ave SE, Glen Burnie, MD 21061). An ice cream social will follow, as she requested.
Visitation 6-8 PM on Friday September 29th at Larkin Mortuary (260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT).
Interment at 8 AM September 30th Salt Lake City, Utah Cemetery (200 N St E, Salt Lake City, UT 84103).
In lieu of flowers: Annapolis Wellness HOUSE, Tate Cancer Center, LDS Humanitarian Aid.