Dr. Elizabeth Jones
It is with great sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our beloved founder Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Jones. Dr. Betty passed away at age 88 due to complications from a stroke. She was the Founder of Foundation for the Children of the Californias, and Co-Founding President of Fundación para los Niños de las Californias / Hospital Infantil de las Californias, I.B.P. With all our hearts, we accompany her family in mourning, as we continue to honor her memory and contributions to our institutions.
Dr. Jones journeyed from her native Alberta Canada, to bring health care to the most vulnerable children living in the San Diego-Tijuana Mega Region. Working together with Mexican pediatric surgeon, Dr. Gabriel Chong King, they developed and cemented the foundations of the first pediatric specialty center in 1994, the Hospital Infantil de las Californias. Always an optimistic woman, she knocked on doors in México, Canada, and the United States to fundraise and secure important donations. As she once said: “for myself, I wouldn’t ask for a penny, but for the children, I am quite shameless”.
Those of us who shared time with her had the fortune to meet a woman with an endearing character, an altruistic spirit, and a natural talent for engaging people in the project she dreamt of. Dr. Gabriel Chong King, Co-Founding President of the Hospital Infantil, and her inseparable companion on this journey expressed “Betty was a soul with a mission, a tireless engine, and she had contagious volunteer spirit. She is perseverance, positivity, empathy, and charity embodied together. Her life was exemplary, it is a teaching of honesty and affection, a code of conduct that we will continue to make ours in her beloved Hospital”.
Dr. Jones did not like flattery, she said that the multiple recognitions she received throughout her extraordinary and long career were thanks to the great team of collaborators who have been part of the different stages of the institution. Dr. Jones’ legacy lives on in the work of the amazing group of professionals across our organizations who work each day to serve the children of our region.
Foundation for the Children of the Californias Board Chairman Kevin Foley shares, “My introduction to Betty was on a tour of the hospital she co-founded. Seeing the children being treated and their parent’s gratefulness for the ability to find help were moments I will never forget. Realizing it was Betty that helped bring this institution together to provide these services was truly inspirational. Betty’s inspiration will live on through the Foundation of the Children of the Californias and the Hospital Infantil de las Californias”.
“On behalf of the board of directors of the Hospital Infantil de las Californias, I want to thank Dr. Elizabeth Jones, ‘Doctora Betty’, as she liked, for having given her life’s work for the health of children in our region. Her unfortunate death fills us with sadness, but at the same time allows us to celebrate her life. Her eternal enthusiasm, her desire to help, and great commitment to children will remain alive as an example to follow for all of us who are part of the institution that she founded. I am sure that, from heaven, where she has earned a place of privilege, she will continue to watch over her hospital and her children. I thank her family for having shared with us an unparalleled woman and I promise that we will keep Betty’s spirit alive in each of the decisions and projects that we undertake both at the HIC and at the FNC”, shares Board President of Hospital Infantil de las Californias, Julian Ceñal.
Long-time friend and Board President, Dr. Carol Armstrong expresses, “On behalf of the Canadian Friends of the Children of the Californias, I would like to express our sincere and heartfelt sadness at the news of Betty’s passing. Dr. Betty Jones was a proud Canadian -born and raised in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. Betty held a special place in all our hearts and inspired us with her wit and dedication. Her ability to garner enthusiasm for helping kids who needed medical care and attention was a direct reflection of how much SHE cared. Betty touched many of us and was always engaged and involved in the Canadian Board. She kept us up to date on all the news from the hospital in Tijuana – from new coffee mugs with Canadian maple leafs on them in the hospital cafeteria, to a new dental centre, to a new swing installed in the playground. Betty was always genuine, kind, and focused on the children first – the children who clapped and cheered when she greeted them at the hospital. They will miss her very much and we will too”.
Please keep the Jones family in your thoughts as they go through this difficult time. No public service is scheduled at this moment. We are working on the plans for an event to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Betty Jones at our upcoming event in October.
Her legacy will continue to endure in each of the children whose health has improved and whom we have yet to serve. Her work lives on in those who not long ago received a consultation from her, and those who are now healthy and productive adults, who today with gratitude say, “She was my doctor”.
Thank you Betty, for everything.