Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sarah Virginia Bell: 1955-2020

Oconee County lost a dedicated citizen activist who cared immensely about its political and social life on Monday morning when Sarah Bell found peace after a difficult struggle with cancer.

Sarah ran for office, coordinated candidate forums, engaged in historical research, and spoke up at meeting after meeting on issues of importance to her and this county.

As A Candidate 2011
Sarah devoted much energy to Republican politics, at the local, state, and national levels. She was a strong advocate of transparency and citizen engagement, and in that we found a common bond.

Sarah volunteered to help me with this blog about 10 years ago. We made a deal. I would buy a camera and tripod. She would attend meetings I could not attend and video record them. I would use the video in my reporting and upload it to Vimeo for anyone wishing to make use of it.

Our usual routine was for me to make a list of meetings and distribute it on Saturday or Sunday.

On Oct 10, Sarah wrote back to me:

Dear Lee:

Sounds like you will be busy.  I may not be able to do anything.  Having some stomach issues.  More later.


Those stomach issues turned out to be Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

That was the last time Sarah responded to my weekly meeting summary.

Sarah was both a very simple and a very complex individual. Above all, she was caring. She cared about me. She cared about my wife. She cared about my daughter and my granddaughters. She really cared about my dog. Empathy, warmth, and understanding defined Sarah.

I am missing her a great deal, but I am very glad I had the good fortune of knowing and working with her.

Neither I nor this blog will be the same without her.


Doug Hansford said...

Lee, that was a nicely written tribute to your friend and colleague. She will be missed.

Rosemary Woodel said...

I am so sorry a wonderful person is no longer here. It's a loss to the entire community.

Betsy Weinrich said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Lee. I did not know about Sarah's role in your blog but am so grateful and now understand how you can do the immense and significant work you can do.

Sarah's passing is a loss for us all but especially for you and others who knew and worked closely with her, an ambitious and generous woman.

Unknown said...

Sarah was my student when she was earning her doctorate degree at UGA.
After I broke my hip a couple of years ago, she was by my side as I tried to live at home alone. I am happy that she helped Lee with his daily blog. Her activism was an inspiration to all who knew her. Rosemary Franklin

Unknown said...

Sarah was a friend and ally in the quest for honest, open government. I will always remember her smile and concern for others She also LOVED CATS. She strived to save a lot of cats.

She was a member of Brainstormers and was a regular attendee. She will be missed.

Wendell Dawson

Unknown said...

Sarah Bell was an advocate,faithful blood donor and volunteer for the American Red Cross. Sarah served as Chairperson for the Blood Services Committee. She was dedicated to the Red Cross mission and was an inspiration to staff and volunteers.
She will be missed especially by the Red Cross donor center team in Athens.

TMoore said...

RIP Ms Sarah. My heart is saddened, yet, my soul knows you are with our Lord & Saviour walking on streets of gold!

Purple Hayes said...

A warm and most respectful tribute. I wish that I had had the priviledge of knowing her also. Thank you. My condolences to all of her friends and family.
--Christopher Hayes

Trey Downs said...

This is terrible news. Sarah stood for integrity in government and will be missed.

Trey Downs