She was born in San Jose, California, to Jack W. and Fern Olive Tomlinson (née Rhoades), and grew up in Willow Glen. As a young woman, she was a Rainbow Girl, a Lincoln High School cheerleader, and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta at San Jose State University.
Jodi met James Richard (Rick) Alward in 1966 in Squaw Valley while on spring break, and they were married later that year. During their 45 years together, they raised their daughter, Katherine Clary; founded a successful beverage business in Santa Cruz County; and devoted themselves to giving back to their community in myriad ways.
Jodi passionately loved children and generously gave her time and many talents to help them throughout her life by volunteering with Rotary, Inner Wheel, her daughter’s schools, Sonoma Charter School, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley.
While living in Aptos, California, she created and managed two charities, including an adopt-a-family program that ensured thousands of children and their families had gifts and food during the holidays. And she was honored in 1994 by the Santa Cruz Salvation Army for her outstanding service to the community.
When Jodi and Rick moved to Sonoma, she tirelessly gave her time and heart to the children at Sonoma Charter School and The Boys and Girls Club, wearing many hats and contributing in many ways.
At The Boys and Girls Club, she shared her legendary cooking skills by teaching classes to the kids for several years. But she was best known for the countless hours she donated to the club’s fundraising efforts. Among Jodi’s many talents was her magical ability to create beautiful events and parties. She would anticipate every detail, design gorgeous décor and flowers, plan delicious menus, and take on any task. As a tribute to her amazing contributions, Jodi was honored with the club’s inaugural Angel of the Year Award in 2008.
Jodi’s loving, caring, and generous spirit touched everyone who knew her. She was a loyal friend, beloved daughter and sister, and a devoted mother and wife. She is survived by her husband, Rick; daughter, Clary Alward, of Redwood City; sister, Gayle Ortiz; and brother-in-law, Joe Ortiz, both of Capitola. She will be greatly missed by her family and many friends.
In lieu of flowers, please continue Jodi’s support of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley with a contribution to its Youth Scholarship Fund. Send to: “In memory of Jodi” c/o SVRF, PO Box 910, Sonoma, CA 95476.
A private interment was held at Mountain Cemetery, and a memorial will be held in Sonoma on October 30, 2011. For information, please go to:
groups.yahoo.com/group/memorial4jodi. Arrangements under the direction of Duggan’s Mission Chapel. Inquiries can be made to 996.3655 or at duggansmissionchapel.com