Ronda Sue Wood passed away December 7, 2021 at her home of 68 years in Whittier, CA
She was born on September 28, 1950 in Bell, CA, Los Angeles County, to Walter & Mary Wood. Ronda was the surprise baby sister to four older siblings. For her folks, with children born in ’33, ’35, ’37 and ’42, they thought their family was complete. Well, along came Ronda, and while the older kids were born at home on the farm, hers was to be the first hospital birth…alas, Ronda arrived in the hospital hallway, where her dad was not relegated to the waiting room! From that point forward Ronda was always full of surprises and always lived life with a twinkle in her eye!
Graduating from Whittier’s California High School in 1968, Ronda went on to receive a degree in elementary school education from Whittier College, and began student teaching before accepting a position at Suva Elementary School in Montebello’s Bell Gardens, where she taught for over 30 years, remaining a beloved teacher for multiple generations.
Realizing at a certain point that loving oneself was more important than buying into every weight-loss scheme, she was inspired to create a social network for folks of size aptly named MOR2LUV. Over the course of decades many lives and hearts have been transformed and moved from the shadows. As if that weren’t enough, Ronda helped form a belly dance troupe called the Fatimas, which has a long list of performances under their shimmering coin belts! Supporting NAAFA and S.A.F.E. groups, and hosting more parties than we can count, Ronda was always looking at ways to encourage others, always building community and advocating for herself and others. Ronda was a bilingual educator and she was on national television (including Sally Jesse Raphael) and radio programs - both English-language and Spanish-language - representing the fat acceptance movement and advocating for self-love.
Being the “baby” of the family, Ronda grew up knowing the love of a big family. Before her arrival, the family made a move from Ohio in 1947, which meant lots of road trips across the country for reunions, as well as hosting those coming to California. While not quite spoiled, she benefited by the lives her siblings were creating, being an amazing aunt to her many nieces and nephews. Through the untimely losses of her dad and two sisters, the family did their best to circle the wagons and make every gathering meaningful, always planning the next, and always closing with a sincere “I love you!” This carries on today and Ronda has now connected her vast collection of family and friends to carry on her spirit. Ronda was the glue that held together all her loves, and we are honored to have been in her universe here on earth, and to do our best to love like Ronda.
One thing everyone will know about Ronda is the love she had for her precious kitties. Her beloved Jenny Smudge, an all-white fluff ball, lived the good life for 21 years! Many more have been in her care, and in the end she had the aloof and furry Dorothy, as well as 19 year old Rubio. Both are in the care of dear friends, and she’s made sure they will be supported for their remaining lives. Ronda was able to remain home until the end because of the diligence and love of her family and chosen family, and her kitties were vigilant in their watch and care through her last days, never straying far from her presence.
Ronda was preceded in death by her parents, as well as her siblings, Donald, Patricia (Hoskins), Alan, and Rita (Davis). Her nephews Gary and David (Zinn), and niece Laurie (Bigham) also left our presence too soon.
Survivors include her brother-in-law Richard Hoskins, nephews and nieces: Dwight, Barbara (Sakamoto), Kevan, Janet (Robinson), Barry, Deborah (Widner), Mike (Garrow), Cheryl (Giordano), Dennis, Bryan (Davis), Kristen (Davis-Coelho), Jody (Davis), Sean, Justin (Davis), and the Murphy’s: Michael, Steven, Maryann, Sally & Alesia. Ronda embraced the spouses of each and loved them all. Additionally, she cherished her many great nieces and nephews, as well as her newest great-grands.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in her name can be made to:
Cats In Need, PetSmart Whittier - Attn: Beth Dauphinee
15618 Whittwood Ln., Whittier, CA 90603
Or via PayPal using CatsInNeedPetSmartWhittier@gmail.com Please include the reference: “In memory of Ronda Sue Wood”