Joanne White, known more affectionately as Jody, passed away last month after a long life of community service. She was a remarkably committed and generous member of the community and a stalwart defender of all that is good about the Santa Ynez Valley.
Jody was born in Whitefish, Montana on October 16, 1922. Prior to moving to the Santa Ynez Valley in 1982, Jody and her husband, Vernal, lived in a home they built in Malibu Canyon. Their property was ultimately purchased by the State of California as part of Santa Monica Mountains park . During that time, Jody volunteered in the Las Virgenes School District, and later served as a Board member and President of the Board for many years, which gave her insight into the challenges of rapid growth and, demonstrating by doing, the importance of citizen participation in their communities.
When Jody and Vern moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, she immediately jumped in as a volunteer for Hospice. Jody soon followed that service by becoming an indispensible member of the Santa Ynez Valley General Plan Advisory Committee, thoroughly studying every issue and invariably contributing carefully considered reasonable comments. Jody also served on the Scenic Highway Preservation Committee.
She was also a founding member of the Santa Ynez Valley Conservation Alliance and one of the original members of Women's Environmental Watch (WE Watch).
Finally, Jody was a founding member of the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, which, at its annual meeting on September 13, 2009, honored the long-time activist upon her retirement from the Alliance Board with its first Environmental Stewardship Award.
While living in the Santa Ynez Valley, Jody and Vern became well known for hosting meetings and gatherings at their lovely home, providing a space congenial to discussing the important issues of the day.
Jody moved out of the Valley in August of 2014 to an assisted living facility in Redondo Beach, where she lived until a few weeks ago. Jody was preceded in death by her son Darrell who died in May of 2002 and her husband, Vern, who died in January of 2014. Her son, Cliff, and granddaughter Amanda, survive her.