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Lynne O. Bell, retired pediatrics practice manager and role model to many, died on March 11, 2023 at Ada Addington Hospice Care in Chicago, IL, from complications of advanced cancer. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Lynne lived in Glen Ellyn, IL for five decades before moving to Oak Park, IL in 2021. Lynne was 84.
Lynne was born on August 9, 1938, in Pittsburgh, PA. Lynne’s father, Kirk A. Oplinger, was an electrical engineer at Westinghouse Research. Her mother, Dorothy (nee Young), lived to the age of 100. After completing nursing school at West Penn Hospital, she completed her BS in Nursing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. There she met William Bell, who was working on his student teaching. The couple married and moved to Boston where Lynne worked at Beth Israel Hospital, and Bill completed his MA in English. After their son Grant was born in 1964, they moved a few more times before settling in Glen Ellyn, IL in the late 1960s.
Lynne started out as a school nurse at Illinois Benedictine College in Lisle while Bill was one of the first English faculty at the College of DuPage. Jennifer was born in 1968. In the mid-1970s, Lynne and Bill divorced, and she took on a full-time managerial position at Glen Ellyn Clinic Pediatrics which later became the DuPage Medical Group. From the mid- 1970s until she retired at the age of 72, Lynne became an integral part of the clinic’s growth and success. As a manager, divorced woman, and single parent, Lynne was a trailblazer during a period when it was rare for a woman to succeed in any of these roles. Lynne was instrumental in expanding pediatrics from one to four offices, greatly increasing accessibility and services to DuPage County families.
“Great boss, mentor, inspiration, female role model, composed, strong leader, dedicated.” These are just a few of the words former colleagues used to describe Lynne. She was like a “Swiss Army Knife,” an analogy made by retired pediatrician, Dr. Kindrachuk, who hired Lynne. She was the “glue that held it all together.”
Lynne’s friends treasure her support, humor, curiosity, and the knowledge that she was “always there for you.” Several friends recalled a day, many years ago, when they celebrated Mother’s Day brunch at a local restaurant. Suddenly, a medical rescue team arrived to carry out a woman on a stretcher, past the piano player and their table. Lynne commented, “Just how I want to spend Mother’s Day – sipping mimosas while a dying woman is carried out to the tune of ‘You light up my life!’” Lynne Bell, you lit up our lives and will continue to do so.
Finally, Lynne was an avid reader, creative knitter and devoted mom and grandma. She was very proud of her grandson, Owen, now completing law school. Lynne knit countless items from ponchos to baby hats--always for others. She even gave her unfinished sweater and pattern she had recently started to her palliative care nurse. Lynne was proud to have bought her own condo in Oak Park at the age of 82, and she hosted cozy gatherings for loved ones and neighbors, even when she became ill. In her journey with cancer, she demonstrated fierce strength and dignity, maintaining her quick wit until the end!
Lynne will be remembered with love by her children Grant Kirk Bell (Steve); Jennifer Eleanor Bell (Bradley); and grandson, Owen William Gomez; ex-husband William R. Bell; niece Susie Wrentmore (Chuck); nephew Paul Wrentmore (late Julie); and great-niece, Courtney. Lynne is preceded in death by her sister, Kay Wrentmore.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Lynne at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL on April 1, 2023, from 11 am – 2 pm in the Sycamore Room.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Sarah's Inn (Oak Park), or other similar charities.
Saturday, April 1, 2023
11:00am - 2:00pm (Central time)
The Morton Arboretum
In the Sycamore Room.
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