Andersen loses legend

Teacher worked through two years of chemotherapy, leaving impact as athlete and inspiration.

June 15, 2010|By Tom Ragan,

She knew sign language and would often sign while she played the piano and sang.

It was the epitome of multitasking, and even though her students were just kindergartners, she tried to pass on these attributes to them through the years.

But on Monday, Andersen Elementary in Newport Beach "lost a legend" in Carol Jewell, who taught at the school for more than two decades but died of cancer after a two-year battle, Principal Mary Manos said Tuesday.

Jewell was 68.

"It's so sad," Manos said. "Everybody absolutely loved her. She was so strong … so strong. She worked every day up until a few weeks ago… Even some of the children's parents had her — that's how long she worked here."

Born as Carol Mauser, on July 2, 1942, in Hollywood Hills, she eventually moved to Newport Beach, where she graduated from Newport Harbor High School. She married William Jewell, a two-time Olympian who competed in kayaking in the 1964 and 1968 Games, said Erik Jewell, 40, one of her two sons.


"She pulled off some amazing accomplishments in life," Erik Jewell said. "She was an amazing woman and an amazing mother."

Some of those feats included taking first place 20 times in her age group at the Waikiki's annual Rough Water swim competition. She also won the so-called "Sharkfest" five times — a contest that starts at Alcatraz Island and ends at San Francisco.

But the greatest impression that Jewell left was inside Andersen Elementary classrooms, where her enthusiasm for life and learning spread like wildfire among her students, whom she taught how to sing and draw and, in some instances, simple greetings in sign language.

"If you lucked out, your children would get Mrs. Jewell," said Janice Grace, 51, whose son, Devan, now a second-grader loves to sit down and draw, thanks to Jewell's instruction.

"She was so creative," Grace added, "and you knew that she was going to pass on that creativity to your children."

She was also noted for leading the Friday morning cheers during the weekly flag ceremony at school.

When Jewell was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, Manos said, the kindergarten teacher kept working, despite the chemotherapy and the sort of toll it has a tendency to take on the human body.

Jewell's last day of work was June 3.

That was the last day students and faculty saw her.

"When I made the announcement on Monday, it was such a sad occasion," Manos said. "The children had grief counselors on hand, but in the end, in her honor, they ended up singing some of the songs she taught them, like 'This Land is Your Land.'"

In addition to Erik Jewell, the deceased is survived by another son, Dietrich Jewell, 38.

The family will announce arrangements in the coming days, said Eric.

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