Remembering Jean Nell

• Remembering Jean Nell 1924-2021 •

Bravo Society Member Jean Nell celebrating OSB’s Silver Anniversary during the 18|19 Season alongside Montecito Journal’s Richard Mineards


In February, Opera Santa Barbara and many other performing arts groups and patrons mourned the loss of Jean Nell. Jean was a dedicated volunteer for our theaters during her lifetime and she generously provided for her favorite arts groups in her will–including Opera Santa Barbara. Former OSB Marketing Director Marylove Thralls shared her own fond remembrance of this beloved Bravo Society member:

It seems that any time you attended a performance at one of Santa Barbara’s theaters, Jean Nell would be in the lobby to greet you with a welcoming smile, every hair perfectly in place, a tailored suit skimming her slight frame, pearls or a brooch ever-present, a program for you at the ready.

With COVID we have been deprived of the enjoyment of live performances in our beautiful theaters, and so have not seen Jean at her designated posts in over a year. It saddens me to think that when we do return to live performances again, we will be missing that familiar sight of Jean with an armful of programs, eyes bright and face beaming with the joy of simply being in our midst.

Without fail, over the years, her presence could be counted on, rain or shine! It is almost inconceivable that she stood at her various posts faithfully well past her mid-nineties. Her dedication knew no bounds. She will be deeply missed by Opera Santa Barbara patrons and staff and so many others.

Jean’s legacy of arts support will continue through her generous bequest to Opera Santa Barbara. Anyone who includes Opera Santa Barbara in their estate plans or makes a gift to the Endowment Fund is invited to join the Bravo Society. Learn more about legacy giving for opera here.



L'Elisir d'Amore, March 2016, Photo by David Bazemore