Joanne Bader Mitchell, an obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered thousands of babies while practicing in Pasadena, died of breast cancer Sunday at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. The Gibson island resident was 57.
Born in Far Rockaway, N.Y., and raised in Woodmere and Belle Terre, she was the daughter of Frank Bader, an engineer, and Nancy Granirer, a court stenographer. She was a 1977 graduate of Port Jefferson High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.
She spent her summers as a counselor at Shire Village near Cummington, Mass.
After her university training, she took a year off to work in Boston medical labs and as a phlebotomist. She was accepted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine. She met her future husband, Jeffrey Mitchell, at a scuba class at the school.
“She wanted to do something relaxing before the intensity of medical school began,” said her husband. “It was the best class I ever took.”
The couple married when she was in her final year of residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. She trained in obstetrics and gynecology.
She and husband settled in Pasadena, where she joined a medical practice with Dr. Linda Oaks in Glen Burnie. She subsequently opened a solo practice on Postal Court in Pasadena. She used the name Dr. Bader when seeing patients. Socially, she was known as Mrs. Mitchell.
“That was one of the things her patients loved about the solo practice,” said her husband, a computer scientist. “They always knew she was going to be there, and she would be the one delivering her babies. She delivered thousands of babies, including mother, daughter and granddaughter.”
He recalled her work ethic.
“She was known for her dedication and hard work,” Mr. Mitchell said. “She was delivering a baby one day and gave birth to her own first daughter the next.”
After more than a decade of delivering babies, Dr. Bader left obstetrics and focused on gynecological surgery, diagnosis and treatment in order to spent time with her daughters.
In 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In early 2012 she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
“She had an incredible empathy for women,” her husband said, “She knew from being a mother what her patients’ experiences were. And from having cancer, she also knew what they were going through with it.”
Dr. Bader continued to practice and joined the Women’s Medical Group at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
“She never wanted to leave her patients without a doctor,” her husband said. “She was taken out of her field only when she was incapable of practicing in 2014.”
Dr. Bader collected sea glass and made mobiles as gifts. She sang and played guitar and ukulele. She was a member of Gibson Island Bible study and knitting groups. She was an athlete, playing tennis and racquetball, and continued scuba diving.
“She was a nominal member of the Garden Club,” her husband said. “She paid her dues, but liked to pick vegetables and flowers more than to plant them.”
She led family vacations to national parks and hiked at Delicate Arch near Moab, Utah. She also made a family pilgrimage to Israel, with stops at the Western Wall, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, Qumran, the Golan Heights and the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center.
A strong swimmer, she swam a mile a day with her husband in Hawaii in 2013.
“I tried hard to keep up with her pace,” her husband said.
While living in Boston, she developed a taste for the locally made Steve Herrell’s ice cream. Her favorite flavor was chocolate-peanut butter, family members said, and she directed that an ice cream social be held after her funeral.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 409 Fifth Ave SE in Glen Burnie. She was the president of the church’s Relief Society and taught Sunday school,
In addition to her husband of 27 years, survivors include her parents, who live in Copake, N.Y.; two daughters, Em Mitchell of New York City and Ariel Williams of Newark, Del; a brother, Richard Bader of Voorheesville, N.Y.; a sister, Toni Goodman of Lake Oswego, Ore.; and a grandson.