There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in our heart.
Jami Kennedy 1948-2022
Having lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since the age of seven, except for a brief period following her marriage to husband Bob Kennedy when the couple lived in the San Fernando Valley and Bishop, California, Jami and Bob moved back to the SCV as their permanent residence. During the 1980s, Jami worked for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she developed her fundraising abilities. These skills became prevalent along with her leadership qualities as exhibited in her local volunteer activities.
Jami was also known for her love of exotic birds that she rescued. Reports indicate she housed around 50 birds in her home at one time and she loved her nickname, “Burdmom”.
Jami joined the Zonta Club of SCV in 1984 where she held many club positions and excelled in fundraising. She led the club as President from June, 1991 through May 1992. The club tradition is for Past Presidents to host and participate in a “fun” installation for all incoming Presidents, one which is unique to that individual. One memory of an incoming President installation had “Cats” as a theme. All the Past Presidents, which included Jami, wore cat ears. When her time came to speak, Jami went to the podium, pursed her lips and began to spit out little feathers. The “Burdmom” struck again! And her humorous side abounds.
Her community volunteer efforts for the SCV Boys & Girls Club achieved the honor of SCV B&G Club Volunteer of the Year in 1984. She also received the Sam Dixon Award in 1987, the highest honor bestowed by the SCV Boys & Girls Club, usually reserved for companies or other large institutions. She was an active volunteer for more than 30 years.
Jami was named SCV Woman of the Year in 1989 which recognizes her outstanding contributions to the community.
Her many other volunteer endeavors included:
- Member of the Board for Carousel Ranch, serving as secretary
- Leading force of “Monopoly Mania” fundraiser for the School and Business Alliance
- Board Member of the Gibbon Conservation Center
- Project “Town Angels” brought a family with two small children to the SCV after they survived 2005Hurricane Rita. Jami led this grassroots effort to bring an impacted family of four to Santa Clarita. They were provided a rent-free apartment, food, etc. for a year. This support enabled the father to attend English as a Second Language classes and obtain a job, and the mother to obtain a high school diploma and attend nursing school. Citizenship classes were also made available.
Community leader comments include the following:
- The term “caring soul’ is reserved for those people who go the extra mile”. “She was that ‘caring soul 2.0.’ That was Jami Kennedy.”
- “She was one of those people --if you knew her for five minutes you knew her forever. She was loving and caring and had a great sense of humor. She was a good friend and will be missed by so many.”
Jami, you will always be in our hearts and remembered for ever.
Chris Miller Remembered 1946-2022
Chris Miller passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on April 7 with her husband Jerry by her side. She had been fighting kidney/lung failure and had been on dialysis but decided to stop the treatment and go home. Jerry called a close friend and fellow Zontian and suggested she come visit Chris one last time. She let Chris know all her Zonta sisters said hi and she was very grateful.
Chris was an active member of the Zonta Clubs in Florida, Santa Clarita, and Las Vegas. She was President of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita in 2008-09 and 2012-13. Chris served on the Zonta board for many years and also founded and as an avid golfer, she chaired the clubs annual golf tournament for several years. Chris was also an active member of Assistance League in Santa Clarita and Las Vegas, volunteering at the their stores in both places. She was also active in Special Olympics while in Santa Clarita.
Chris was born in Birmingham, England in 1947 and the family moved to Quebec, Canada, when she was 11 years old. Chris graduated from high school in Quebec and was a ski instructor in New York from 1968 - 70. She moved to Los Angeles in 1970, met Jerry and they married in 1972. They moved to Valencia in 1984, where Chris attended College of the Canyons. She also attended “Woodstock” coming away with lots of stories to tell.
Chris and Jerry moved to the Virgin Islands in 1995 where they started a yacht charter business, Rusty Nail Charters. They took hundreds of people on various trips around the Islands. Once they ended their charter business, the couple returned to Valencia in 2001. Chris worked for Princess Cruises from 2006 to 2016 and after Jerry retired, they moved to Las Vegas. Several of members from our Zonta club visited Las Vegas a few times to chat with her and Jerry.
Chris will always be in our hearts.
Nancy Delange remembered 1958-2021
Zontian, Nancy Delange, passed away peacefully from cancer on November 30, 2021. She had bravely battled the disease for a number of months, and she died at home surrounded by family at the age of 63.
Nancy joined Zonta in 1997. Her neighbor, Judy Penman, brought her into Zonta SCV. Nancy’s husband Nick and her children, daughter Nicole and son, Kevin, rounded out the Delange family on Zermatt Street in Valencia. She jumped right in and was active on committees. She was elected to the board and served a term as club secretary. She loved Lunafest and other Zonta activities that highlight women in the community such as Women in Service and the Tribute. Nancy cared deeply about Zonta’s mission to improve the lives of women and was proud of our work on behalf of Young Women in Public Affairs and other scholarship activities that help put local women on a strong footing for a better future. She loved international travel and was thrilled to belong to an organization that serves women around the world.
Nancy was born on October 20, 1958, in Chicago and grew up in Morton Grove, Illinois where she attended school and became an Illinois State Scholar in high school. She demonstrated her athletic ability from an early age and held a high jump record in track and field. You knew when you met Nancy that somewhere along the line, she must have been a basketball player, because she was so tall. Indeed, she played Division 1 basketball for two years at Northern Illinois University and at Oklahoma State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the college of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.
In her professional life, Nancy developed a valued career in governmental service, working for the US Postal Service, the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office, and for more than twenty years at the City of Santa Clarita as an Associate Engineer and Landscape District Administrator. She was active in the SCV Chamber of Commerce as well as the International Association of Assessing Officers. This level of professionalism led her to take an extremely active role in her family’s homeowner’s association where she utilized the skills she developed in Zonta to serve in numerous leadership roles. When not working, she was a gifted quilter, loved traveling, going to the beach, and walking her dogs.
In recent years, due to stresses in her work and with her health, Nancy was unable to be as active in Zonta as she wished. Still, she proudly attended our events when possible and paid her dues religiously. We will miss seeing our tall, beautiful, smiling friend. Her sweet kindness will forever be her legacy to the Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley. Memorial donations in memory of Nancy can be made to Zonta International at zonta.org.
Written by Lois Bauccio
Remembering Adele Macpherson 1946-2021
Adele Macpherson was born in Sale, England, a small town near Manchester, in 1946. She was the second child of May and William Burns, and she completed the little family with older sister, Rena. Her happy childhood was highlighted by her service to Girl Guides, an activity that would inspire and characterize her lifetime of service.
Following school, she attended college to study chiropody, and received a license to practice. She was introduced to a clever and funny young man, Iain Macpherson, and the couple wed. The newlyweds soon found themselves in Israel in a move to follow Iain’s job. His engineering career continued to move them, then with two little girls in tow, to Canada and Washington State. Finally, Iain was assigned to a job in Southern California, and the family relocated to Santa Clarita in 1986.
Adele began volunteering right away for the PTA and the local Red Cross. Before long, she was hired as the manager of the Santa Clarita Valley branch of the American Red Cross, a job that would define her future career in emergency management. She was hired in 1990 to serve the newly formed City of Santa Clarita as Community Services Superintendent, and she eventually became Emergency Coordinator for the City.
It was in that role that Adele rose to the very height of community protection as she became a leading force in the recovery and rebuilding effort of the city following the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. During the year following the earthquake, she worked tirelessly to help the people of Santa Clarita as their homes needed rebuilding and retrofitting, all the while living in rented housing because her own home had been red-tagged and deemed unsafe for occupancy. She also became an important part of the SCV Emergency Coalition during that time, an effort that informed her interest with many of the community’s challenges.
But let’s go back to 1989, when Adele joined the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley. Barbara Cochran introduced her to the Zonta mission and the volunteer opportunity that would become the centerpiece and passion of Adele’s life. The Zonta mission to improve life for women and ending violence against women in the valley and around the world became her life’s dedication. She quickly moved up in leadership as she served as Club Director, Secretary, 1st and 2nd Vice President, President Elect and President in 1995.
Following her Presidency, Adele continued her club leadership by serving on the Foundation as a Founding Trustee, Treasurer, Secretary and President. To voice her personal mission, she chaired the club’s Advocacy Committee, Zonta Says NO, as well as serving with the club’s partnership with the Domestic Violence Center as a court advocate for women needing restraining orders against a battering spouse, partner, or stalker. She worked as a court advocate for battered women until the pandemic shut the courts down. She organized the Shoe Project and the Red Dress Project, always willing to talk about the women in our community who have succumbed to domestic violence and what we need to do to prevent it.
Adele’s life as a Zontian was characterized by her personal dedication, reliability, kindness, and generosity. She was often asked to help with unusual projects for District 9 and international leaders. SCV Zonta has been blessed with members who have served at Area, District, and International roles. At various Conferences and Conventions, one could find Adele in her room organizing something, or running around supporting a Director, Governor, or International President. Adele was named Zontian of the Year by SCV Zonta in 1994.
Throughout those years she also volunteered for countless nonprofit organizations in the SCV including the United Way, the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center, the Child & Family Center, the Domestic Violence Center, the School-to-Business Alliance, the SCV Boys and Girls Club, the Foundation for Children’s Dental Health, the American Heart Association, the SCV Resource Center, HandsOn Santa Clarita, Daughters of the British Empire, and more.
In 2002, Adele was named Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year, and served on that committee until her passing. She was presented with the Key to the City, an honor given to only five others, by the Council Members of the City of Santa Clarita in July of 2021 in recognition of her lifetime of service.
Adele Macpherson passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, August 8, following a brave, six-month-long battle with cancer. She is survived by husband, Iain Macpherson, daughters Kirstie Zacharias and Fiona Bracco, grandchildren Cole and Reese Boyett and Ilan and Ryan Bracco, sons-in-law Alan Zacharias and Chase Bracco, and sister, Rena Hobbs. Her passing is mourned by her Zonta sisters in Santa Clarita and all who were blessed to have known her.
Contributed by Lois Bauccio
Long time member Pat Allen remembered 1932-2021
Pat Allen was the ultimate Zontian. She was a person who loved life in every possible way. She loved her family, her community, and her country. She loved her friends from Santa Clarita and San Fernando, Canyon High Football, all dogs, Elvis, and a million other things. At the top of list of the things she loved, right along with her family, was service to the people in need in her community, her country, and her world. It was that deep love of service that propelled her every day as a Santa Clarita Zontian to say “yes” whenever she was asked to serve. Her service was characterized by love, joy, humor, and dedication – always.
Pat was born in San Fernando, California on March 19, 1932. She attended San Fernando High School where she met her lifelong sweetheart, Sheldon Allen. They graduated in 1950, Sheldon joined the Navy, and they married in1951. In 1955, Pat went to work at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as her husband went to college and law school. Those early years of the Allen marriage reflect Pat’s amazing energy as she gave birth to 4 children by 1960 while working full time and assisting her husband in his burgeoning legal practice. The kids needed her too, so she volunteered for San Fernando Little League as Sheldon coached the team. Their partnership in community service had begun.
That partnership in community service grew to a phenomenal level when they moved to Canyon Country in 1967, and they immediately became involved in the Canyon High School Community Committee and the Canyon High School Booster Club when the school opened. In 1982, they became deeply involved in volunteering for the Boys & Girls Club. Pat’s outstanding volunteerism was recognized, and she soon was invited to join Zonta where she quickly moved into leadership with her enthusiastic desire to volunteer for everything. Over the years she served as Chair of every committee, served on the Board as member and as officer, including President. She was such a great and perennial Treasurer, that the bylaws were amended to allow her to serve addition terms in that role. She travelled to District Conferences and International Conventions all over the world with her Unzon husband, Sheldon. She was truly delighted by the beautiful women in their native dress, and she was thrilled to be a part of it all. She was amazed to hear the Amelia Earhart Fellows talk about their projects which she didn’t understand but did understand that she, through Zonta, had been a part in funding their important work.
Additional community service included the Red Cross Disaster Team, Chair of the Celebrity Waiter Celebration for the American Heart Association for ten years, Canyon Theater Guild Volunteer, Home Tour for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Cowboy Poetry Festival, Senior Center Wine Auction, and much, much more.
It was with the Boys & Girls Club and for the famous auction where Pat came into her own as a solicitor of donations. Over the years, her talent and skill for solicitation grew, so much so that there was no business in town which she had not solicited nor could say “no” to her. Eventually, she would take several requests to a solicitation meeting, always in person. She would first ask for Zonta, then the Boys & Girls Club, then the Senior Center, and so on.
Through Zonta, Pat’s community service included being a regular Mrs. Claus for Zonta’s Rent-A-Santa program as well as Chair of Zonta’s Senior Center bread bake program for home-bound seniors. She helped out in Val Verde for Healthy Kids Club. She truly believed in helping women and girls at every age to become empowered for growth and improvement. The extent to which she improved the community for the women and girls living in Santa Clarita is incalculable. Indeed, it was so immense that she was named as Santa Clarita Woman of the Year in 1994, when she was recognized along with Sheldon who was named Man of the Year right by her side. In 1999, she was honored as California Woman of the Year by State Senator Pete Knight of the 17th District, and in 2000 Pat and Sheldon were named as Volunteers of the Decade by the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.
Throughout it all, she continued her dual careers as mother to four children, Sharon, Mitch, Vince and Chris, and as a loyal employee to Lockheed. When she retired in 1990 after nearly 35 years at Lockheed, she found new time to volunteer even more! Zonta sent her along with her close friends, Zontians Jami Kennedy, Barbara Cochran, Carmen Sarro and so many others, to represent our club at literally every nonprofit fundraising event in Santa Clarita checking in party goers, selling tickets for raffles, anything and everything to help the various organizations raise dollars to help the individuals they were serving and to improve the community. She never ceased to entertain her Zonta Sisters with tales of the exploits and successes of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren during Brags & Bitches and then Bits & Pieces.
In later years, long after Sheldon’s passing, Pat’s health began to decline, and she moved to the Antelope Valley to be closer to family for her care. We lost her on January 1st, just two months short of her 89th birthday. She will long be remembered by Zonta SCV as a funny, joyful, remarkable leader, an inspirational volunteer, and a true Zontian. She loved us, and we sincerely loved her. Rest in Peace, Our Dear Pat.
By Lois Bauccio
Remembering Gloria Barrett 1931-2020
Gloria Barrett lived her life by the words of the Zonta Collect, "And O Lord, God, let us forget not to be kind." Gloria was a professional woman with many, many talents. But when asked what people remember about her, to the person they say "she was always so kind!"
She loved telling people that she was born on Christmas day; a preemie so tiny that her mother placed the swaddled infant in a shoe box kept in an open oven with the pilot light on to keep her warm. While the doctors had told her mother that little Gloria wouldn't make it, the deeply maternal woman refused to hear it and created her own incubator for her baby. Gloria liked to say that her dear mother and God proved that doctor wrong!
But more than anything, she loved her husband, Bud, and their kids and her sisters. She and Bud co-owned a Century 21 real estate business for decades, and they were very active in the community. Gloria and her pal, Carmen Sarro, helped make Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital a reality. From founding the Hospital Auxiliary to creating the Holiday Home Tour, Gloria was there. One would always see her at the Boys & Girls Club Auction checking people in or dancing with Bud.
As a Zontian for many years, Gloria served on numerous committees including Healthy Woman's Day, Healthy Kids Club, Women in Service and various scholarship committees including the Virginia Wrage Fund Scholarship Committee.
After the passing of Bud and her sisters, Gloria mourned deeply. She joined them on Friday, July 17, 2020. Her kindness and joy are missed by all. There will be a celebration of Gloria's life when we can all gather again. In the meantime, rest in peace, dear Gloria, and in her memory, let us forget not to be kind.
Jo Ann Rodriguez Remembered 2019
We are saddened with the loss of long time Zontian, Jo Ann Rodriguez, who passed away on October 25 after a long battle with COPD.
Jo Ann joined Zonta in 1999 and served as club president twice and held every leadership role in the club. She also served as District 9 Treasurer for four years. She had a passion for Zonta’s mission of improving and empowering the lives of women and girls, both locally and internationally. She was named named Zontian of the Year in 2005. Jo Ann was the Parliamentarian Extraordinaire. However, her favorite program was our Healthy Kids Club, which was in partnership with Sam Dixon Health Clinic in Val Verde. She served as chair of the program for many years.
Jo Ann loved live theater, traveling … but most of all she adored her husband Don, the love of her life and she loved spending time with her family.
Jo Ann was a Valley girl. Born in Sylmar, she graduated from Sylmar High School. Rather than attending college, however, she got married right out of high school. The young marriage was unsuccessful and shortly after giving birth to her baby son, she sought a divorce. She got a job at a local mortuary where she learned all aspects of office work for the small business. From there she went to work for two brothers who owned a small machine shop. There she did everything for the brothers’ office that included billing and accounts payable, budgeting, and all other forms of bookkeeping and accounting.
During this time, Jo Ann went on a blind date with a young Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy who would become the love of her life. Don Rodriguez was smitten right away, but after giving her an engagement ring he got cold feet. When he broke off the engagement, Jo Ann sold the ring and went on a cruise.
Still, after the rocky start, the couple got back together. Don and Jo Ann became life partners and companions traveling via Jo Ann’s favorite mode of transportation, cruising of course! After marriage, successful this time, the couple had another son, and the young, blended family thrived in their Santa Clarita home.
Meanwhile, Jo Ann’s professional career was also thriving. The small machine shop where she was working merged into the brothers’ father’s aerospace corporation, and they took Jo Ann along with them. Klune Industries was a $60 million per year business with hundreds of employees around the country. Jo Ann just had a knack for cash management and before long she found herself head of the accounting and payroll departments. She became the CFO and was the only female on the Klune executive team. When, in 1998, she contracted breast cancer, the leaders at Klune wanted her to continue working for them, so they gave her a “softer” job as head of Human Resources!
All the while, Don’s law enforcement career kept growing stronger, and when he eventually became Captain of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station, it was important that their family had a higher community profile. He encouraged Jo Ann to join a service organization, and the couple’s friend, Adele Macpherson, introduced Jo Ann to Zonta. She was bitten by the mission and the new friends she made, and she officially became a member in 1999.
Jo Ann’s career in Zonta was exemplary, as she impressed her sister Zontians with her leadership skills and her willingness to help in every way she could. She worked herself up the “ranks” of Zonta as board member, treasurer and eventually, President. Twice. She served as perineal parliamentarian and as volunteer and chair of Healthy Kids Club for so long it seemed like a perpetual posting. She enjoyed honoring community women through chairing the Women In Service event for a number of times.
Mysteriously, she developed COPD for which the doctors could not determine the cause. Don brought her to meetings and activities, but her Zonta sisters could see that she was struggling with her health. She passed away too soon in 2019 after a long and brave battle with the disease.
A new Zonta scholarship fund has been established by the Rodriguez family which will go to a young woman studying Business Accounting living in the Santa Clarita area. The name of Jo Ann Rodriguez will be remembered as long as Zonta SCV exists as a leader who was committed to the Zonta mission and who exemplified the objects of Zonta. She will be missed forever.
She will be truly missed by all of us and we are proud she was a member of our club.
Connie Worden-Roberts Remembered
Connie loved cooking. Connie also loved Zonta. Connie was a long time member of our Zonta Club having held many positions especially chairwoman of the Zonta Tribute. She loved that event!
Connie passed away in 2014. City Council member Laurene Weste recently brought all of Connie's cookbooks to city hall so that anyone who love Connie could have a piece of her heart. Everyone could browse thru her cookbooks and take any they wanted. There were lots of them!
Inside each cookbook was a letter from Laurene and a remembrance of Connie. Read more about Connie here.