Nan Tolbert was a special person whose life purpose and passion was service. For this she was awarded the honor of being named a Treasure of Ojai and to this day is remembered fondly by many. These memories may be ineffable but they indicate the Nan held the passion, did the work and she lived it. People felt it.
In Ojai Nan was a delivery room nurse at the Ojai Hospital and was a doula. Her compassionate birthing practices included her knowledge coupled with an aura of peacefulness and calm. In 2000 when the Ojai Hospital closed the obstetrics department, she turned her attention to families. She had an absolute awareness that the parent is as important as the child in the parent child relationship. That successful relationship of attachment was deeply important to her. She opened a little office in Meiners Oaks and conducted classes for parents, particularly.
As a doula, Nan could be found in homes doing dishes, helping with breastfeeding, washing a baby and generally making sure that the mothers and fathers and caregivers were being assisted in these early months. As someone said, Nan covered the physical, emotional and physical aspects of this crucial time in the life of families. She supplied information to the community as to what she was doing and its importance to the health of families.
She knew that this work was valuable. She could do the work but the business side was a place where she needed help. She found that friends assisted with basic needs, such as money and general office work. She was fortunate to have a friend who did the technical issues of running a business – taxes, filing forms that had to do with her nonprofit.
Nan died in 2006 of a brain tumor. Her friends rallied to the cause and worked very hard to find a larger setting for her work – the current setting in Oak View. A couple of the friends had assured Nan that they would keep her work going. They also did yeoman’s work getting the nonprofit funds from the state, getting bylaws written, furnishing the room and getting a board in place. As one person says, “I know that Nan would be so pleased.”