Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Antioch Council approves master plan for Laurel Road area park and open space named for Jacuzzi family members

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Park Ridge Park & Open Space map. Guissepina and Valeriano Jacuzzi. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory from Pinterest.

Park Ridge subdivision park, Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space

By Allen Payton

One of the family members that helped develop the Jacuzzi name into a global recognized brand in the hot tub business, and his wife, will have their legacy of farming and land ownership in Antioch honored with the naming of a 25-acre open space inside a new home subdivision off the future extension of Laurel Road. The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Spacee and Park Ridge subdivision park. Park Ridge park & Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space ACC11-10-20

Park Ridge Park landscape plan.

The 525-unit new home project by Davidon Homes will feature both the 8.22-acre park in the Park Ridge development. It will also have a trail to connect to the Delta de Anza Trail as well as the Jacuzzi open space.

The park will include a dog park and is expected to be completed by first quarter of next year a representative of Davidon Homes shared.

“Exciting for Antioch exciting for the project,” Mayor Sean Wright said following the presentation.

“It looks like it’s a beautiful park with a lot of open space. So, thank you for that,” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “The only ask is that the playground structures be all access. I just want to make sure it’s put into the resolution so that it gets done.”

“It’s a beautiful park and what a great amenity to the subdivision,” added Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts who followed her comments by making a motion to adopt a resolution of approval for the park and open space.

The council then voted unanimously 5-0 approving the motion.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi Ranch, circa 1928. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Valeriano and Guissepina Jacuzzi and Family History, and Ties to Antioch

According to former Antioch Mayor Joel Keller, the Jacuzzi family members started in Antioch and East County about 100 years ago. They were farmers, and then some family members left for Sonoma County and entered the vineyard and wine business.

“When they moved to Antioch is when they worked on their pump and started the Jacuzzi hot tub business,” he shared.

“The family still owns many acres of land in both Antioch and Brentwood,” Keller added.

Valeriano Jacuzzi was born on December 16, 1887 and died in 1973. Guiseppina, known as “Pina”, was also born on December 16, but in 1898. The year of her passing could not be found in a search prior to publication time.

Jacuzzi employees with Jet Pumps-c.1940 Front row from left: Candido, Gelindo, Joseph, Frank, and Valeriano Back row: Virgil Jacuzzi, first on left, engineer John Armstrong in center. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy.

According to the history of the Jacuzzi family on the Jacuzzi Vineyards website, “The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.

In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.”

According to the Jacuzzi Wikipedia page, “Jacuzzi Brothers was founded in 1915 by seven Italian brothers from Casarsa della Delizia in Northern Italy, led by Giocondo Jacuzzi and Candido Jacuzzi. The company made wooden propellers under military contracts” at their location on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Valeriano Jacuzzi with dogs Pronto and Milecca, west view of home-1941. Photo: Pinterest #jacuzzifamilyhistory.

According to the vineyards’ website, “World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano’s new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.

Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in (Antioch) Contra Costa County.

During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption.

Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi home with vineyard in foreground – 1941. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

“In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc…where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.”

Valeriano’s grandson, Fred Cline started Cline Family Cellars in 1982 in Oakley, making his first vintages from original plantings some of which dated back to the 1880’s. Those vineyards can still be seen, today along the north side of the city next to the railroad tracks.

“Cline opened Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in 2007 as a way of honoring his beloved grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi. As a teenager and young man, Fred was taught by Valeriano how to tease magic from the soil” and “the fine art of old-world winemaking.” Two of the wines sold by  Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are named Valeriano and Guiseppina as tributes to his grandparents.

Valeriano and Guiseppina wines from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

According to the Jacuzzi hot tubs company website, “the Jacuzzi brothers revolutionized the pump industry by developing a pump for orchards. Many inventions later…when a young Jacuzzi family member was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, the brothers designed a pump that could be submerged in a bathtub to provide pain-relieving hydrotherapy treatments,” creating a hydromassage pump. “In 1968 Jacuzzi created the world’s first integrated jet whirlpool bath” and “the portable hydrotherapy pump turned any normal bathtub into a relaxing and rejuvenating hydro-therapeutic spa and changed the lives of people around the world.”

In 1979, the Jacuzzi family sold the business (and the name) to a large corporate conglomerate, and Valeriano and Guissepino’s son Remo remained president of Jacuzzi Brothers until 1982. Remo Jacuzzi started and owns Jason International, a  hydrotherapy company named from a combination of Jacuzzi and the word “son”.

Jacuzzi brothers with mother, from left: Candido, Frank, Gelindo, Teresa, Joseph, Valeriano, and Rachele-c.1935 Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Now, the 25-acre open space in Antioch will bear the Jacuzzi family name, specifically as a legacy to one of the inventive, hardworking farmer and vintner brothers, Valeriano and his bride, Guissepina, who have added to Antioch’s rich history as the county’s oldest city.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi family photo-c.1941 Back row: Mary, Dante, Virgil, Jaconda, and Teresa. Front row: Flora, Rachel, Valeriano, Giuseppina, and Remo. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.


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Contra Costa Transportation Authority Executive Director Randy Iwasaki to retire in December

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Search begins for his replacement

Randy Iwasaki. From LinkedIn.

Randell H. Iwasaki, the Executive Director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority announced recently, his intention to retire from the agency.  Following is a statement from the Board Chair Julie Pierce.

“It is with a range of mixed emotions that I announce Randell Iwasaki’s (Randy) retirement from his successful and accomplished career at the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA). I am sad Randy will retire as CCTA’s Executive Director effective December 26, 2020; yet, I am immensely proud of the goals, recognition and innovations CCTA achieved in the ten years Randy has been at the helm of the Authority, and extremely grateful for the leadership Randy has demonstrated while managing this agency. His vision, as well as his ability to create, guide and inspire a remarkable workforce resulted in a small but mighty team who has made significant advances to improve mobility in Contra Costa County.

Randy and his staff have delivered on our promise to the public by completing major infrastructure improvements such as Highway 4 and the Caldecott Fourth Bore projects, while simultaneously pursuing innovative ways to improve mobility in the future. During Randy’s tenure, CCTA has become a leader in advancing new technology to solve real challenges faced by our residents. Notable achievements include establishing the nation’s largest secure, connected and automated vehicle proving grounds, securing legislation to pilot the first low-speed, multi-passenger, shared autonomous vehicles that are not equipped with a steering wheel, brake pedal, accelerator or operator on public roads in California, and more recently winning two nationally competitive grants to deploy innovative transportation technology from the United States Department of Transportation.

Throughout his tenure as Executive Director, Randy has ensured CCTA remains a responsible and prudent steward of public funds. For eight years in a row the agency’s management of sales tax dollars has been recognized with the coveted “Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting” from the Government Finance Officers Association. Last year, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association also honored CCTA with a Silver Medal Award for Good Government.

On behalf of the CCTA Board, I’d like to express our gratitude for Randy’s extraordinary role in delivering so many projects aimed to strengthen the economy, protect the environment and enhance Contra Costa County’s transportation system. In the ten years he has served as Executive Director, he has accomplished much to improve the quality of life for our residents. We thank Randy for his dedication to this agency, and wish him all the best in his new adventures.”

The CCTA Board has appointed a sub-committee of the Board to lead the search for the agency’s next Executive Director.”

Iwasaki is the former Executive Director of CalTrans, the state Department of Transportation, said he plans to work in the private sector following his retirement in December.

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See video and photos of drive-by caravan to honor Antioch Citizen of the Year Ralph Garrow

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

At the special drive-by caravan to honor Anrioch Citizen of the Year for Lifetime Achievement Ralph Garrow, today. He watched via FaceTime from inside his home. See related article, here –

Posted by Antioch Herald on Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ralph Garrow. From Facebook 11/5/18.

By Allen Payton

7/23/20 UPDATE: As of Thursday night at about 8:35 p.m., a post on his son Alex’s Facebook page announced Ralph’s passing: “I regret to inform you all my dad has passed away. We appreciate all the overwhelming love and support. Please give my family time to grieve and we will inform you of the funeral arrangements at a later time.

A drive-by caravan was held on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 to honor 2019 Antioch Citizen of the Year for Lifetime Achievement, as he is battling stage-four cancer. Participants included his wife Laurie, family, friends, business associates from his real estate career, Antioch Police, who provided an escort to the caravan from the Lucky’s shopping center on Contra Loma Blvd., fellow Rotarians, Antioch Chamber of Commerce representatives who presented him with his Citizen of the Year plaque, and ConFire personnel, as Ralph watched from his bed via FaceTime on an iPhone.

Please see related article for more details.

Antioch Police and ConFire personnel gather at the Lucky’s shopping center before the caravan began. Photo by Jody Drewry from her Facebook page.

Photo by Doreen Monroe from her Facebook page.

Screenshot of video by Loretta Espinoza from her Facebook page.


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Drive-by caravan to honor Antioch Citizen of the Year Ralph Garrow Wednesday morning

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Ralph Garrow

A special event to honor 2019 Antioch Citizen of the Year for Lifetime Achievement, Ralph Garrow is planned for Wednesday, Morning.

In a post on Facebook Tuesday night, former Antioch Councilman Tony Tiscareno, a Realtor who works with Garrow in his real estate brokerage, “As you are probably aware, our friend and fellow Realtor Ralph Garrow has been battling cancer for several months. Ralph is now home spending his time with his family. Fellow Realtor Tangie Leverett has arranged for a Caravan of Ralph’s friends and well-wishers to drive by his house to let him know that we love and support him and his family during this very difficult time in his life. Ralph is expected to be out on his porch as the caravan passes by.”

In addition, Garrow will also be presented with a plaque which recognizes his honor as an Antioch Citizen of the Year by representatives of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

When: Wednesday,  July 22, 2020

Time: 10:30 AM

Where: Lucky’s Parking lot (Putnam end of the Parking lot) 3190 Contra Loma Blvd., Antioch

We are planning to leave from the parking lot at 11:00 AM to caravan to Ralph’s house.  No one will be leaving their cars, but if anyone desires to bring card, flowers etc.  someone will be available to take them as you drive by.

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Antioch School Board honors district 2020 Teacher of the Year Becky Barnett

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Dallas Ranch Middle School teacher Becky Barnett is the Antioch Unified School District 2020 Teacher of the Year. Photo courtesy of Leslie Scudero.

But, she’s retiring so Runner Up Robert Vieira will represent the district and compete at the county level

Antioch Middle School teacher Robert Vieira. From AMS webpage.

By Allen Payton

During their online meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 the Antioch School Board honored the district’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Becky Barnett and Runner Up Robert Vieira. Barnett is a teacher at Dallas Ranch Middle School and Vieira teaches at Antioch Middle School.

In an effort to acknowledge and honor the contributions, commitment, and excellence of its most outstanding teachers, the Antioch Unified School District participates in the Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the California Department of Education. Individuals selected as the District’s Teacher of the Year and Runner Up are initially nominated by their peers. After the District Teacher of the Year is selected, his or her application is forwarded to the Contra Costa County Office of Education for consideration as the 2020 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

“Ms. Barnett’s passion for teaching…is second to none,” said Christine Ibarra, Associate Superintendent for K-12 Education Services. “I’m sending you a virtual hug and we’ll have a plaque for you in recognition.”

“Yeah, 39 and this is my last one and I’m going out with a bang,” said Barnett. “It’s bittersweet, really just to go out this way. I’ve been teaching 39 years and 38 in Antioch.”

“Wonderful, wonderful. On behalf of the board I’m very excited for you. Congratulations and best to you in your next chapter,” said Board President Diane Gibson-Gray.

“I will just say, when I started in this district 21 years ago, Becky, you were my idol,” said Superintendent Stephanie Anello. “You really are remarkable.”

Trustee Gary Hack said, “We shared a lot of jokes and good times. You’ve been a sweetheart from day one. You’ve done a lot of good work for kids over the years. Enjoy retirement.”

“Congratulations and I commend you for all your years of teaching,” said Crystal Sawyer-White.

“I can’t even tell you how honored I am to have you be our Teacher of the Year, not just for the site but for the district,” said DRMS Principal Bridget Spires. “You’ve helped so many students have success. I appreciate you, the staff appreciates you. We love you and wish you the best in retirement. But today is about congratulating you for your hard work.”

Mary Rocha said, “You’ve done a great job with the young people in giving them mentorship. You certainly are a person we admire.”

“I just want to thank you for your years of service,” said Trustee Ellie Householder.

In her bio on the district’s website, she wrote, “I have been teaching for 39 years, 17 of which have been here at Dallas Ranch.  I am currently teaching 6th grade students and all subject areas.  I have a cat, Felix.  I love teaching and really love being home with my critter.  Any questions, please email me or phone me at DRMS.”

Vieira was honored next.

“Mr. Vieira is a gamechanger for our site,” said Principal Lindsay Wisely.

“I’m extremely humbled,” Vieira said. “Thank you for those kind words. Coming over from a small district to a larger district has been a challenge. I’m just kind of blown away in this honor. So, thank you very much. I appreciate the respect and honor bestowed on me.”

“I came over from River Delta,” he said in a response to a question by Gibson-Gray. “I’ve been in Antioch…this will be the end of my fourth year.”

Each of the board members congratulated him.

“Let me just congratulate you for making the best decision in your life for coming to Antioch Unified School District,” said Anello. “I remember hearing about this new teacher at DRMS and all the wonderful things you’re doing. I’m still hearing about it. We’re so happy you’re here…and congratulations.”

“You build that trust and safety in the classroom,” he added.

“The next level is for the teacher of the year to be forwarded to the county,” said Ibarra. “Ms. Barnett, in her retirement has graciously decided to remain local. So, we will be forwarding Mr. Vieira to the county for consideration.” (See related article)

“It’s a great honor to be able to go on, so thank you,” Vieira added.

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Antioch Council honors Jack Roddy for 50 years of community service

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

“There’s not a prettier place in the world than right here, in Antioch. We’re going to miss Antioch.” – Jack Roddy

Jack Roddy. Herald file photo.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 the Antioch City Council honored Jack and Donna Roddy for their contributions to the Antioch community with a proclamation. Supervisor Diane Burgis and Congressman Jerry McNerney also provided proclamations honoring Jack Roddy. Jack Roddy Proclamation Antioch City Council 05-12-20

“Using a basketball analogy, it would be like having Michael Jordan in your community,” Mayor Sean Wright said about Jack Roddy.

Jack Roddy joined the council meeting by telephone from his new home in Stephenville, Texas.

“I feel very humbled by all these accolades. I’ve been proud to be a resident of Antioch,” he shared. Whenever I traveled for rodeo, I was proud to represent Antioch.”

“We’ve had 50 years of friends. But I’ve had too many injuries to keep the ranch going,” Roddy explained. “But, we’ve left it in good hands. It will be a park for people to enjoy that ranch like we have. We’re going to miss Antioch. Anytime anyone from there comes to Texas, we live in Stevensville. You’re welcome to stay.”

“I appreciate all the kind words and we’re going to miss Antioch,” he added.

“We have a special video that’s been made to honor Jack,” said Wright.

“It was fun, I got to go out and watch them make this video of Jack. For him to tell his stories. For him they’re not stories. He has a book out. He’s just a legend. We’re going to miss him,” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock

In the video Roddy said, “There’s not a prettier place in the world than right here, in Antioch.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joy added her thoughts. “Jack and Donna have given their support and life to this community,” she said. “It’s just been remarkable. I really hate to see them go. I wish them the best of luck.”

“Jack you’re just a super nice person who has done great things for our community,” said Councilwoman Monica Wilson. “I remember whenever I’d see you, you always had a smile on your face. Thank you for everything you’ve done.”

“Thank you, Jack and Donna,” added Councilman Lamar Thorpe who was wearing a cowboy hat in the Roddy’s honor. “When I first moved to Antioch, one of the very first names you hear about is Jack Roddy. Thank you for your philanthropy. I still remember taking my daughter to your ranch and seeing all the cattle. Thank you for opening your home to us and the community. Best wishes in Texas.”

“Jack, it’s been great. I’ve had the honor and privilege of bringing my friends from Chichibu, Japan out to your ranch…to have that real Western, cowboy experience,” Wright added. “I’m excited for Deer Valley Park and your ranch for being a place of education. You will be remembered in Antioch and you and Donna will be missed.

Following is the proclamation approved unanimously by the council:



MAY 12, 2020

WHEREAS, Jack Roddy was raised in San Jose’s eastern foothills and became a rodeo legend following a nationally renowned career including several national titles and Hall of Fame recognition;

WHEREAS, Jack and his wife Donna settled in the beautiful valley on the southern edge of Antioch at the base of the Mt. Diablo foothills where he built a very successful cattle and ranching operations;

WHEREAS, Jack Roddy has dedicated his time, money, and personal resources to making Antioch a better community since his arrival;

WHEREAS, in 1989 Jack was a founding member of the Delta Advocacy Fund, which was created to bring needed resources to those residents facing life emergencies and has provided

more than $500,000 to families throughout Antioch and East Contra Costa County;

WHEREAS, Jack willingly opened up his ranch for fundraising events and personally welcomed

thousands of guests that shared his desire to support many community efforts;

WHEREAS, in 2013 Jack hosted a Barbecue to support Antioch City Councilman Gary Agopian, who was battling brain cancer, Jack raised over $40,000 to support Gary and his family during this difficult time;

WHEREAS, Jack has been instrumental in raising additional funds to assist the Antioch Police Department, Chichibu Sister City Program, Mayor’s Cup golf tournament, Mangini Agriculture Museum and Gardens, and many other city programs; and

WHEREAS, for decades Jack participated in efforts to preserve his ranch lands, including Roddy Ranch Golf Club, to protect the habitat and to expand recreational opportunities in East Contra Costa which will provide a 3,254-acre, regional park for everyone’s enjoyment.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SEAN WRIGHT, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby honor Mr. Jack and Donna Roddy for more than forty years of service, support and land stewardship that enriches the Antioch community and all its residents.


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Antioch’s last cowboy Jack Roddy and his wife Donna head to greener pastures in Texas

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Jack Roddy sings “The Last Cowboy Song” with the California Cowboys at Delta Advocacy Foundation’s 2012 Roddy Ranch Roundup. Photo by Allen Payton.

Book about his life “Wrestling the World” published last year available on Amazon

Jack Roddy. Courtesy of Wrangler Network

By Allen Payton

Antioch’s last cowboy, Jack Roddy and his wife, Donna are heading for greener pastures. On May 15th they will be moving from their home south of Antioch to Stephenville, Texas, known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, about an hour southwest of Fort Worth. The Antioch City Council will honor the Roddys and their contributions to our community with a proclamation, during their meeting next Tuesday, May 12th. Jack Roddy Proclamation Antioch City Council 05-12-20

Jack Roddy wrestled the world, as a new book published last year about him, reads. The six-foot-five native Californian and U.S. Marine was the All-Around Cowboy National Intercollegiate Championship and the World Champion Intercollegiate Steer Wrestling title in 1959, while studying for a bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Then as a two-time world champion steer wrestler in 1966 and 1968, “Roddy and the Rodeo Cowboys Association board members turned professional rodeo into a multi-million-dollar sport” as the book has it. Roddy is credited for turning the sport of rodeo into the big business it is today.

“Arena wrecks and broken bones, were nothing compared to the tragic death of friend Malcolm Baldrige,” the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, when the horse he was riding fell on him while participating in a calf-roping competition at the Roddy Ranch in 1987.

Jack would continue to wrestle with local government in Antioch and Contra Costa County as a landowner, to see his dream of The Roddy Ranch Golf Club and new home community become a reality.

Jack and Donna Roddy speak with former Antioch Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Devi Lanphere at her farewell party in January 2011. Herald file photo.

He won his first major round of local land wrestling when he and his partners opened the golf club in 2000.

Jack also battled radical environmental extremists, claiming to be Luddites, who killed his cattle using bow and arrow, and threatened him, as well.

Jack won another major round in 2005 when the people of Antioch joined him and his partners in fighting back against the county, after the Board of Supervisors moved in the Urban Limit Line and cut out his property that the voters had already included. We passed Measure K overwhelmingly giving the approval for the 700-acre new home development surrounding the golf course. It was to be the Blackhawk of Antioch.

He battled a partner who came to town and said he “had more money than God” but instead got Jack embroiled in a controversial funding scheme with a school district from the Central Valley to finance a water line to the Roddy Ranch property. As a result, that kind of “roving joint powers authority” is now illegal in the state.

Jack also battled with a neighbor who stole his water, illegally tapping into the water line.

But after 20 years of work to obtain approvals for the Roddy Ranch housing development, due to delays by city staff and a mayor who ignored the will of the voters, Jack lost another round of wrestling. He and his partners sold the land to the East Bay Regional Park District in 2013. (See related article)

Worse, his young protégé, to whom Jack leased the golf course to run like his own business and whom he treated like a son, took it down as a result of financial fraud. (See related article) Shortly thereafter, the golf course closed in 2016 giving Jack what appeared to be a final defeat. (See related article)

Jack Roddy at Salinas in 1978. By Brenda Allen

But, ultimately, Jack who was used to picking himself up, dusting himself off and getting back on the horse, won his final round of local land wrestling, when and his partner sold the remaining property including the Roddy’s 40-acre homestead to the East Bay Regional Park District in 2017 and the golf course in 2018. Combined, all 1,885 acres will be permanent open space and one day open as the Deer Valley Regional Park, which will be Jack and Donna’s legacy for the region. (See related article).

A few years ago, Jack wrestled with pneumonia after being bucked off his horse and cracking three ribs. He’s been down, but never out and has always managed to get back up.

He has continued to live life as a cowboy, running cattle on their land over the years, bringing in cows from Hawaii, fattening them up on the grass, then shipping them to Texas to be fattened on feed before being sent back to Hawaii for butchering.

Jack and Donna have contributed to Antioch and East County through the years, hosting many events at their place, including fundraising barbeques entitled the Roundup at Roddy Ranch every two years which helped raise $400,000 for the Delta Advocacy Foundation, which he helped found; the Antioch Rotary Club which he was a member of for decades; as well as the Antioch-Chichibu Sister City farewell dinners when the Japanese delegation was in town for their semi-annual visit.

In 1991 and 1992 Roddy was the Seniors Steer Wrestling World Champion. He went on to serve on the Rodeo Cowboys Assocation as Steer Wrestling Director for over 16 years and in 1997 Roddy was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He won the Steer Wrestling title at the California Rodeo in Salinas in 1962, 1964 and 1966 and was inducted into the California Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2010, as well as the California State Fair Hall of Fame. Today, he mentors future rodeo champions and carries on the traditions of the West.

In 2017, Jack was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame, along with Dwight Clark of the 49ers. (See related article) See video introducing him for the presentation, below:

The book about Jack published last year, entitled Wrestling the World: The Life and Times of World Rodeo Champion Jack Roddy, available on Amazon, tells the story of Jack’s tough upbringing in San Jose with a “hard driving Irish father who forbade rodeo dreams.”

He’s been in several movies including a documentary that earned an Oscar. A few years ago, Jack, Donna and friends traveled to Ireland, where his father was born, and made his own movie about their trip.

Then last year, Jack appeared in an episode of the TV show, Man vs. Food when the host took on the 49er Club Steak Challenge at Vic Stewart’s in Brentwood. Some of Jack’s memories and accomplishments can be seen inside the restaurant, owned by former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, John Herrington, where a few of his championship saddles and photos of his steer wrestling days are on display.

Among their other influential friends, the Roddys can also count Stephen Hearst, with whom they take horse rides at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, each year.

According to their property sales agreement with the park district, the Roddy homestead will become a public museum dedicated to his rodeo history once he and Donna pass. It will include trophies, buckles, photographs of Jack with President Reagan and celebrities, and other memorabilia for future generations to enjoy.

To learn more about Jack Roddy’s life visit

We now say farewell to Antioch’s last cowboy, Jack, and his wife Donna as they head off into the sunset. Actually, the sunrise since their heading east! It’s been great having you here, getting to know and serve the community with you, through the years. God bless you in your new home. You are loved and will be missed. Just know, Antioch will always be Roddy Country!

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Antioch native and Deer Valley High grad serves aboard USS America

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Damage Controlman 2nd Class Sammy Cohen. Left – U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vincent E. Zline. Right – from his Facebook page 11-21-19.

By MC2 Jackson Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach, Media Outreach Department, Millington, TN

200331-N-RU810-1009 PHILIPPINE SEA (March 31, 2020) Damage Controlman 2nd Class Sammy Cohen, from Antioch, California, assigned to amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), dons a self-contained breathing apparatus during a damage control drill.

America, flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit team is operating in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Cohen is a 2006 graduate of Deer Valley High School in Antioch.

“We’re very proud of my little brother and the man he has grown up to be,” his sister Natasha Esther shared.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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