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Memories of Jody

Jody Nathanson  1932 - 2018

On the morning of November 27, 2018, Jody Nathanson peacefully slipped away from this world. Jody is much loved and will long be remembered. She leaves a strong legacy as a gracious leader and positive influence for many people, too many to count.

Jody married Sherman Nathanson in 1956 and they lived a life full of adventure, laughter, family, and love. Their marriage spanned 52 years while they raised their four sons and started several businesses, always side by side.

Jody was ahead of her time in so many ways. She was an outspoken advocate for women and children throughout her life. She questioned the establishment and challenged social norms of childbirth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, nutrition, women's rights, and a woman's role in the family.

In 1962, Jody became the first accredited La Leche League leader in California. She provided crucial information, kind words, and support to nursing mothers, day and night, for the rest of her life. In 1985 Jody became one of the first International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, where she continued to provide invaluable support to so many families. Jody was instrumental in bringing LLL to Japan and Japanese language groups, and was deeply involved in the LLLI Peer Counselor Program.

Jody loved to explore new ideas and places, always full of questions and eager to learn. She consistently looked on the bright side and always had a quick smile to share. She loved to laugh, and was happiest when her family was all together. The ripple of her impact on this world has yet to be fully realized. Jody will be dearly missed.

Jody was:
Kind, Caring, Thoughtful, Generous, Brave, Questioning, Leader, Cheerful, Smart, LLL, Maverick, Loving, Social, Gracious, Strong, Productive, Teacher, Friend, Confidant, Trustworthy, Honorable, Loyal, Steadfast, Creative, Sensitive, Clever, Humorous, Witty, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Wife, Grandmother, Aunt, Business partner, La Leche League Leader, LLL International board member, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC, Innovative, Energetic, Dancer, Public Speaker, Advocate, Researcher, Loving, Shaman, Healer, Selfless, Giver, Bold, Interested, Married, Supportive, Protective, Accepting, Role Model, Persistent, Spiritual, Honest, True, Bright, Polite, Communicator, Advanced, Enthusiastic, Strong, Determined, Interested, Engaged, Considerate ...

We Remember Jody Nathanson

We would love to hear from you. Please share your memories and photos of Jody. Add your memories in the box below. To send photos click here and they will be added to the album. As many as you want!

If you prefer your thoughts & memories not to be posted here, but you want to share privately with the family, you may use this email form.

Please help us reach friends of Jody by giving them a link to this Jody Nathanson obituary website. Thank you. https://Jody.Nathanson.com/

Your contributions of stories and/or photos to share on this website will be appreciated more than anything. In lieu of flowers consider a donation in Jody’s memory to LLL Alumnae or La Leche League International

33 thoughts on “Memories of Jody

  1. Danielle Roth

    Jody touched so many lives positively, but especially mine. Her kindness, generosity and caring throughout my life have helped to make me who I am today. She was always there for me when I needed her, as a child, as an adult and everything in between. She taught me how to care, to cook, to listen, to drive, to read, to write, to swim and so many other things. But most importantly, how to be a mother. I am so grateful for her presence in my life and in my families. She will always be missed and remembered and loved.

    Reply
  2. Roberta Heesen Reid

    This makes me so sad. I met her through La Leche League. I became a LLL leader because of her. I loved when she would throw spaghetti on plywood for a big family dinner. I'll never forget the time we came to her house for dinner and she fed us tongue. She was trying to fool us but I had eaten tongue before. It was very funny. She was a great and positive influence on me. She will be missed.

    Reply
  3. Lynne & Charlie Kamerman

    Lynne first met Jody 50 years ago at an LL meeting and remained close ever since. We were lucky enough to attend Jeffrey and Allyson's wedding in October. Jody was of course beaming! Jody and Sherman attended our wedding 33 years ago, as Lynne's surrogate parents. This made attending Jeffrey's wedding extra special for us. Jody was also at the birth of three of our seven children. Over the years Jody & Lynne spent hours on the phone just enjoying each other. A life long friend, loved, cherished and already missed.

    Reply
  4. Lucia Galante Johnson

    Jody was my mentor as a La Leche League Leader and a treasured person in my life. She empowered me as a mother and her kind and caring nature supported my family choices.

    Words cannot express how important Jody was to me. I will greatly miss her loving smile, warm hugs, and generous spirit!!!!

    Reply
  5. Karen Sullivan

    Jody was an amazing lady. So many of us in La Leche League over the years have been blessed by her knowledge, kindness, wisdom and gentle ways. So much of my mothering ways we're learned from her examples.
    I have great memories of my time in her home no matter what the setting was. You're already missed. RIP

    Reply
  6. Tam Everts (was Delight)

    Jody and I led La Leche League meetings in the 80s. I had gone to school with her son David so we were a generation apart but that was not ever a difference for us. I hung out at her house with my twins & 3rd son named Joel after her son. She was my mentor and encouraged me in my growth as a mom and a La Leche leader. She encouraged me to help with a Japanese group of La Leche League. A twins group as well, she was always encouraging me to reach my potential. Sherman was always around with his dry wit and the love between them was remarkable to watch. Jody was a truly wonderful woman and helped so many families. She will be missed.

    Reply
    1. Ellen Chase

      Tam,

      So great to see your post here! I remember you from the early 90's and you were an inspiration to me. I have been a leader since 2008. Jody's net has been cast far and wide, and I guess I'm just going to have to keep her smiling voice in my head for future advice and support.

      Ellen Chase (was Karmelich)

      Reply
    2. Hiroko Hongo

      Tam, are you Tamula Delight?? How wonderful that Jody makes us reconnected here! Yesterday when I knew the sad news through faceboook, I cried for hours.
      It 's like I lost my own mother.
      Jody has been supporting me and other Japanese Leaders, peer counselors and mothers in many ways when I was in California as well as after I moved back to Japan.

      Reply
  7. Traci Gill

    I met Jody in 1970 at my first LLL meeting where she was the leader. This was the last eeting she was going to lead for a while as she was pregnant with Joel. I was pregnant with Brandi at the time. From that first meeting to the wonderful friendship we had was a life changing joy. Love from Jody was a gift like non other . I spoke to her a few days ago and we spoke for over an hour. Since moving to Oceanside it was very difficult to get together because of the nursing for my son. We had to settle for long phone conversations and facebook . I am shattered but will always cherish my loving memories.

    Reply
  8. Susan Mocsny Thomas (formerly Baker)

    Jody was my initial contact to La Leche League. I had my first baby about two months before and breastfeeding was going well, but we moved and I wanted to meet some other families who felt similarly about parenting, birth and breastfeeding. She encouraged me to go to a park day that day and so began my journey with La Leche. I recently celebrated 37 years as a Leader, but have 43 years in as a mother.

    After we moved to Orange County, we still came to her huge annual LLL potluck. I missed that so much when we left So Cal.

    I am so sorry to hear about her death. I know you will all miss her greatly. It almost goes without saying that she will live on with her family and the wonderful legacy she passed on, but so true.

    Reply
  9. Karen Peters

    My first LLL meeting was at Jody’s home. 32 years ago. She laughed when I asked her to hold my three month old boy, a Stephen, while I went to the bathroom. Haven’t you learned to pee with a baby? Her humor was her spark.
    She also cautioned me not to ‘burn out my shining star ‘, she encouraged me to balance my family with my advocacy.
    I am so grateful to have learned many, many lessons from her.

    Reply
  10. Rebecca Prewett

    Jody led the very first LLL meeting I ever attended, when I was pregnant with my first child. And she led the next meeting I attended, with my newborn Matthew in tow, back in 1985. I was sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and grieving my cesarean — and Jody spoke calm, gracious, reassuring words seasoned with her wisdom and humor.

    Tam — you were at that meeting too, with your beautiful twins and adorable little Joel.

    Jody was an amazing leader and mentor, and such an encourager. And she epitomized graciousness to me.

    Such a remarkable and inspiring woman!

    Reply
  11. Mary Radinsky

    Jody was an amazing woman, friend, mentor, leader, advocate..... She was full of life, laughter, care and love! She blessed my life. I'm grateful for all she was and continues to be....

    To her family, I thank you for sharing her with us. May your hearts be comforted at this time and every time you think of her!
    Gentle hugs to each of you......

    Reply
  12. Margie Deutsch Lash

    Oh, my goodness. I am so saddened to learn of Jody’s passing. Her generosity and love was always shining through whenever I came in contact with Jody. She had such a kind soul. Even though I didn’t know Jody well she always greeted me as if we were long time friends. I had the privilege of receiving holiday cards from the Nathanson family for many years. Jody embraced all who joined her in advocacy for mothers and babies. I’m honored to have known her. With all my love to the Nathanson family.

    Reply
  13. Miriam Kaufman Nash

    I’m shocked to read this. The very first LLL meeting I went to was where Jody was co-leading with a relatively new leader. It was a warm sunny meeting in the Park. I later went on to become a leader and attend countless meetings at her home. She was one of our matriarchs. Condolences to her sons and family.

    Reply
  14. Dave Nathanson

    "Faith is not about everything turning out OK;
    Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."
    -- quote from Jody Nathanson

    Reply
  15. Susan Odle

    Jody was such an inspiration to me and so many others. I would have been a very different mother if I hadn't met Jody. When I was considering having my second baby at home, it was Jody's stories of her own home births that gave me confidence. I remember potlucks at her house with all the families from our groups, meetings in the park, and Jody's stories of her precious family. Thank you, Jody, for you inspiration and love.

    Love seeing some names from the past here. I wish it was under happier circumstances.

    Reply
  16. Hiroko Hongo

    Jody is like my mother in the US. She has been supporting me in many ways when I was in the US as well as after I moved back to Japan. Without her love, I could not have been who I am, and probably it is the same to many other people.

    Whenever I go through hard time or face difficult decision, I recall her and wonder what she would do if I were her.

    I have recalled her words whenever I face someone's anger:
    "Anger is pain. Pain means there is a wound, which needs to be healed."

    She has changed this world much better place to live in.

    Reply
  17. S. Candelaria

    Social Wisdom Benefactress
    --------------------------

    Jody had a profound comprehension of social dynamics, which she worked to the benefit of untold numbers of people. Others will tell you of La Leche League, which made worldwide changes in attitude to the benefit of family and family members. My story is from recent years.

    What a pleasure it has been to have extended contact with her and hers. Animated and honest, sincere and willing to share experiences, we always found things in common. Interested and interesting, dignified and full of the picaresque.

    More, Jody really listened when you told her about something. I think I'll keep doing it! ; D It's so nice that the family is providing this way for us to maintain the web she strengthened that weaves us all together. Anyway, here's the story:

    Repeatedly seeing a group leader who was mad at the world regularly lashing out at members of a group that I belonged to was most distressing to me. Jody found a youtube video, amusing but profound in its point that for the practitioners of a craft to perpetuate their devotion to the art, they must be encouraged, not demeaned. Published to the whole group, and appealing to the leader's self-view of being elite like the video's star, the video's point was made politely — and encouragingly. Re-orientation to the new viewpoint followed and has helped everybody in the group, further extended to fans of the craft, and continues long term. One little video. And Jody's profound understanding of using group dynamics to make for a better world. Thank you, Jody!

    Reply
  18. Z

    I feel blessed to have known such an amazing woman and friend, as well as the Nathanson family as a whole. I'm happy I kept in touch with her throughout the years. She will be very much missed.
    A good conversation and laugh with Jody, Sherm, and the rest of the Nathanson clan was all anyone needed to put a smile on their face and warmth in their heart. I'm blessed to have experienced that firsthand.

    Reply
  19. Dave Nathanson

    *** UPDATE. *** A remembrance gathering will be held on Saturday, December 29 at 11 AM in the
    Parish Hall at St. Francis located @
    2200 Via Rosa,
    Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90275.
    If you would like to speak at the event and share your stories, thoughts or memories of Jody, there will be time at the Remembrance.

    Message from the Nathanson family:

    It is with great sadness that we share with you that our beloved mother, Jody Nathanson passed away on November 27. During her amazing life, Jody connected with, helped and supported people all over the world and will long be remembered for her generosity, wisdom and spirit.

    Mom touched many lives, so if you know anyone who should receive this notice, please help us by passing this message on.

    There is a special website to remember Jody where you can post photos, stories, memories, comments, reflections or anything you’d like to share. The direct link is https://Jody.Nathanson.com

    To honor our Mom, a Remembrance gathering will take place Saturday, December 29 at 11 AM in the
    Parish Hall at St. Francis
    2200 Via Rosa,
    Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90275.

    The best way to contact us at this time is via the contact form on the website.

    We thank you for your support during this time.
    -Joel, Bennett, David and Geoff Nathanson

    Reply
    1. Hiroko Hongo

      Dave,
      Thank you so much for creating this website.
      It is like a place where we can always meet Jody, even from Japan.

      Reply
  20. Sandy Erickson

    On a dark and windy night In early 1963, long before any of us had a GPS, I set out to find my first LLL meeting from Westchester CA to Redondo Beach. I was wondering whether to give up when I noticed the car in front of me pulled over and a woman holding a paper that looked like a map. I decided to follow her up those narrow, winding roads and we finally found the address.

    There was Jody at the door and I asked her for some aspirin for my spinal headache. She gave me some, with no lecture on how that could have been avoided. On the way to get the pills she spoke to a baby who was standing in a crib in a bedroom doorway. She told him he needed to be quiet or she would have to close the door in a gentle but matter of fact voice. I was amazed that you could talk to an almost one year old and be understood. David cooperated!

    Then I sat down on the couch in a room full of mothers and babies. During the meeting I had to put my finger in my baby’s mouth since I had worn a dress with buttons down the front and was not prepared to nurse “in public”. Needless to say it was a shock to see the gal across from me, Polly, nursing discreetly. All this subtle teaching going on.

    In two months Jody was at my house helping start a new group. The same happened with so many of us;Peggy Mills,Donna Sheehy, Jan ?Owens, Kathleen Huntsman, Marlene_Dunaway___,Pat Brewster, and many more who formed LLL of South Bay

    Perhaps in 1964 the first LLL Convention was held in July in
    Chicago. Jody was all set to go when Sherman came down with a kidney stone. She simply couldn’t leave him to take care of David even though he was on the mend so asked me to go in her place. Wow! That included participating on the panel she was on.

    By then I had six week old Nancy but I think Geoff was not due for a while yet.

    We did have a fund raiser at some point. Sherman was the auctioneer and of course he was very good at that. We had some baked goods left at the end of the evening and he was very successful at moving those out.

    Skipping ahead a few years after we had been transferred temporarily I do remember that Jody and I had enrolled our older children in a class at the nearby Botanic Gardens. Some of the officers from LLLI came to LA for a meeting. By then our family had increased and we lived really close to the Nathanson’s. There was an afternoon meeting at our house on the same day the kids had their class and somehow whoever had the carpool forgot to pick up the kids and we were called. On top of everything we were trying to look like the good parents we were but came off with some egg on our faces.

    Jody bailed me out when my babysitter didn’t show up one night when my uncle was in town from Chicago and stayed with our kids the night our last baby was born.

    Jody,Sherman and the boys took in our daughter, Nancy, for a semester during a tough year during high school. Can you imagine that?

    Then there was our trip together with a group to China. All because we had these babies and wanted to nurse them.

    And she had all these other friends but when I was with her she made it seem like I was the only one.

    Then she took care of Sherm, with lots of help from her boys. Then the boys took care of her. And they are gone.

    Reply
    1. Pat Brewster

      Like Sandy Erikson, I, too, met Jody in 1963. I'd had a problem of sore and bleeding nipples after our first child, Susan, was born, and I called a number I was given, for breastfeeding help. Jody answered and of course invited me to the upcoming La Leche League meeting. I was amazed and excited about all I learned at that meeting and meetings that followed. And over the years, I had the privilege of Jody's friendship, with her warmth, kindness, wisdom, and encouragement.

      When Susan, as a teenager, was advised to have a 24-hour brace, or have rods in her back, for scoliosis, Jody listened to our fears, (and tears) and then gently suggested we get another opinion. An expert we then went to, in Pasadena, said Susan was on the borderline for needing that, and we could wait and see. She's 55 now and does have problems because of the scoliosis, but never did have the brace or rods.

      Another time when Jody offered advice was when I was told by my doctor to have a hysterectomy. Jody gave me studies about hysterectomies being over-prescribed, and I never did have that hysterectomy.

      As for Jody's encouragement with breastfeeding, I asked her one day why there wasn't an LLL group in Palos Verdes where I live, and she replied, "Well, why don't you start one?" I did, and was an LLL leader for several years. During that time, again with Jody's encouragement, I became the first editor of the California page of La Leche League NEWS, attended international conferences, and also was on the Fund Raising Committee for La Leche League International.

      One night, I met with Jody to discuss the possibility of planning a book on breastfeeding, for an assignment in a correspondence course I was taking. She suggested writing a book on unusual breastfeeding problems. We were up until 3 a.m. planning possible chapters. Over the next months, and years, we worked together, with Jody suggesting many mothers, LLL leaders, and doctors for me to contact, and resources to use. And finally, in 1979, my book, "You Can Breastfeed Your Baby in Special Situations," was published by Rodale Press. I believe that Jody touched the lives of thousands of mothers and babies through this endeavor that she was so much a part of. Thank you Jody for your dedication to helping others and your loving kindness to everyone.

      Reply
  21. Linda Okimoto

    My daughter will be 22 years old in January...so it was over 21 years ago that Jody helped support my breast feeding and LLL journey. Jody was the one mentoring all the other leaders I met along the way...what a blessing she was to all of us. She will be missed. Empowering each one of us to make the choices we felt best. Thank you Jody. Much love to those who will miss her very much. She touched so many lives...

    Reply
  22. Karen Peters

    I wish I could see you all at the Remembrance Gathering this weekend. Jody would have told me to put 'family first' and I am visiting my daughter in NYC. Hugs to you all.

    Reply
  23. Amy Thornberry

    I am lucky to have memories of my daughter, Georgia, still a chubby cheeked toddler playing endless games of hide and seek throughout Jody and Sherman’s home.......running to hunker down in their closets and bathtubs with Joey, while Aidan counted down......giggling madly as Aidan came close to finally finding them....... This was our weekly ritual, our routine for two, three? long and lovely Southern California summers of mothering, swimming, hide and seeking at Jody’s pool that always ended up with the kids laughing and moms talking. People before things. The world needs more people like Jody. While I am saddened to hear she has passed, her memory is truly one of joy, comfort and support. Thank you Jody. You will be missed and your memory cherished.

    Reply
  24. Gregg Stiglic

    I've been friends with the Nathansons for almost 50 years. It started with Geoff in kindergarten, but really the whole family befriended and adopted me.

    It's no surprise to see all of the wonderful things others have to say about Jody; that she was always such a generous, giving, caring person and invaluable friend. She was a great listener, gave thoughtful and heartfelt advice, and always maintained her sense of humor. That was always my experience with her too.

    I was a nearly constant guest at the Nathanson house starting at about age 7 and kept it up for around 30 years. They probably should’ve sent monthly invoices to my parents and I, but of course never did.

    Jody was a second mom to me. I was extremely fortunate to have several adults in my early years who had very positive impacts on me. Jody was high on that list, as was Sherman.

    With four active sons of their own at the house, and several equally active friends…………….well, also mischievous……. like me around, I was increasingly impressed and appreciative of Jody’s patience, tolerance, and caring. She not only endured so many of our raucous activities, but she was there to support them and even seemed to find them entertaining. Watching us have fun was something that clearly meant a lot to her, as long as the fun did not end with someone losing an eye. We did OK, no lost eyes that I know of. And of course, she made sure we didn’t get hungry too. Just a few examples included:
    - Noisy backyard basketball games
    - Billiards……….with maybe some occasional wagering
    - Water polo matches in the pool….did I mention noise?
    - Baseball in the street (yes, hardball – amazing how quickly a group of kids can scatter when an errant baseball toss hits something like a car roof)
    - Tennis ball wars, and my personal favorite,
    - Long range dart throwing
    Oh, and of course, all of the disputes and injuries that come with such activities. Jody was always there to mediate and tend to the wounded.

    Oh sure, there were times when she had to step in and redirect us, but it always impressed me how she took the time to talk us through the issues she saw and make us understand why we’d made bad decisions. Great skills. There have been a few times that my own kids have frustrated me to the point that I thought my head might explode, but I’ve often thought back to how Jody handled these kinds of things, taken a deep breath, and tried to emulate her amazing skills.

    There were so many great childhood (and adult) memories. Many of these continued after college and well into our 30’s!

    One particularly memorable gift that Jody and Sherman gave to me was my first ever ski trip. You might imagine the work in taking seven boys on a three day weekend ski outing. But what a great time! It ignited a skiing passion for me that continues to this day, and I’ve now passed it along to my own kids. There’s just no price tag that can be put on that. I still recall my words of thanks to Jody when she dropped me off at home: “Thanks, you’ve changed my life!” She remembered these too and we had some laughs about them over the years.

    All of these experiences are priceless. I’m forever grateful. Thanks Jody.

    Reply
  25. Dave Nathanson

    New page added to Jody's website with photos and video of the event. There is a link to "The Memorial Gathering" at the top of the website. It was a very nice event, and it was great to see so many long-time friends.
    https://jody.nathanson.com/the-memorial/

    Thanks very much to all who were able to attend in person, and/or share memories and photos. Thanks also to everybody who holds a thought or memory of Jody. She appreciated you all so much.

    If you have photos or memories to share, please send to Dave Nathanson direct, or via this website. Thanks!

    During Jody's last days I found comfort watching the Pixar animated movie "Coco" in which we learn about the Día de los Muertos and the importance of remembering those who have died. Perhaps you also will find some comfort and entertainment there too. It is framed as a light comedy, suitable for all ages, beautifully done.

    Death is the one thing that always happens. Always. But in my culture death is often seen as something avoidable, something to be prevented at all costs. Of course, that is simply not possible.

    Jody enjoyed being alive, and was also accepting of the end whenever it was going to come. She was a tremendous example of so many good characteristics; including mindfulness, bravery, inner strength, positivity, insight, peace, and acceptance.

    Shortly before Jody passed out of this world she was asked;
    "Jody, are you in any pain? Is there anything we can do for you? Do you want some water?"
    She replied very softly; "I'm OK".
    Those were her last words and I'm sure that she meant them. And she meant us not to worry about her.

    Thanks again to everybody, for everything.

    Dave Nathanson

    Reply
  26. Dave Nathanson

    I remember one day as a child (of oh, maybe about 7 years old, I don't remember when exactly), Mom had chased me down and was spanking me with a wooden spoon for misbehaving. Suddenly her frustrated anger all turned to tears and she stopped paddling me. After a long emotional call to Dad at work, Dad came home from work early and the two of them had a long closed-door discussion about something. That was the last day my brothers or I were ever spanked, the last time violence was used in our household the name of encouraging good behavior.

    Jody's early childhood included such violence and terror. That day as she was giving me a spanking, she saw herself perpetuating a legacy of violence and she resolved to break the chain, now and forever.

    This did not mean that her kids were going to be free to run amuck without correction nor manners. But it did mean that she had to get creative with advanced parenting methods to make her point, encourage good behavior while discouraging bad behavior, & to raise her boys well.

    Something my brothers & I were often guilty of was fighting among ourselves. Jody saw this as bad for at least 2 reasons.
    1) Fighting is not the way to solve differences and
    2) Brothers should stick together.
    In the big picture, spanking us for fighting was not working. Using violence to solve a problem did not teach how not to use violence to resolve differences. Very macro.

    One creative non-violent punishment which I have a childhood memory of is being seated facing each other, in 2 chairs about 8 feet apart. "Look at your brother. No talking. I'll be back in 10 minutes. And No Laughing!" she would say sternly. Ten minutes seemed like an eternity...

    Of course, you can guess what would happen. ... Making faces, to try & make your brother laugh. And Laughing out loud. Sometimes she would come back in & admonish us for laughing, adding a few minutes to her timer. If we still seemed mad at each other, she might adjust the timer as well. Until we cooled off & the reason for the disagreement had faded into unimportance.

    We really did not like this punishment, but it worked, and it took care of both problems with spanking. It did not teach violence as a way to resolve anything, and by the end of the punishment, we were usually on the same team again. Or at least not mad at each other.

    She revealed to me many years later that she felt so strongly that brothers should stick together, that she was willing to redirect the animosity towards herself if it would bring the brothers together. Wow, even more macro than I knew.

    Dave Nathanson

    Reply

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