JoAnn ”Jody” Carol Penfound (Dudas) died peacefully at home and was ushered into heaven after a short illness on June 28, 2022 at the age of 80.
Jody will be missed by all that loved her, including her life partner Jeff Purdy of Gahanna, Ohio, her children, Tracy Myatt of Dublin, Ohio, Matt Penfound of Dublin Ohio, Julie (Ian) Dreifaldt of Englewood, Colorado, Samantha (Mark) McConnell of Westerville, Ohio, stepdaughter Amy(Jeff) Scarbrough of San Leon, Texas, sister Betty Jane (Les) Slack of Temple, Texas, her 11 beloved grandchildren: Kate, Beth, Joel, Matthew, Madeline, Megan, Griffin, Nick, Olivia, Annelise and Avery, 5 great-grand daughters, nieces, nephews, friends and her bevy of indoor and feral cats. She is preceded in death by her husband Ron Penfound, her parents Joseph and Elizabeth Dudas and her in-laws Archie and Marjorie Penfound.
Jody was born July 17, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio to Joe and Betty Dudas. Her childhood was filled with fun times with her sister, cousins & friends, church, fishing and gardening with her father and learning Hungarian cooking with her mother. Her high school days were out of a movie with boys in leather jackets and girls in poodle skirts- she loved those days. Jody graduated from Westlake High School in 1959 and kept in touch with classmates and attended her reunions for decades. She worked in Cleveland in her early 20’s and made many lifelong friends. She married Ron (Captain Penny) Penfound in 1967 and moved to Bay Village. She loved her time raising their her small children, being his wife, and entertaining friends in their lovely yellow house on Lake Erie. Jody always loved New England and persuaded Ron that Walpole, New Hampshire held their next adventure. Briefly living in their red Revolutionary War era house brought her much joy and she would often say, “Once a New Englander, always a New Englander”. Ron’s job took them to Naples, Florida in 1973 and in September of 1974, she was widowed at the age of 32 with 4 children to raise. Her fortitude and strength as a young, single parent was admired and appreciated by not only her family, but all that knew her.
She moved her family back to the Buckeye state and settled in Bellville, Ohio in 1976 and began one of her favorite life chapters. In the small town with a beautiful bandstand and supported by the love, faith and friendship of The Bellville United Methodist Church, she found a sanctuary and place for her and her kids to thrive. She gardened, canned, sewed beautiful clothes, taught Sunday School, picked apples and strawberries, learned to quilt, attended Friday night football games, began working outside the house, and often had Sunday dinner with her friends, parents and kids at her table.
Jody moved to Columbus in 1992 and met her beloved Jeff Purdy soon after. Jeff and Jody quickly became inseparable and filled their 30 years together with work, fun, vacations, time with family and the beautiful renovation of two condos and two houses. During her years in Columbus, she was a member of the Church of the Messiah and found great friendships and God’s love in her Sunday school class there and at Stoneybrook United Methodist Church.
Jody worked for Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Firestone as an administrative assistant and, though she greatly enjoyed these work experiences, wanted a bigger challenge and more autonomy. When most are contemplating leaving the workforce, she decided to become a real estate appraiser and launched Penfound Appraisals when she was in her late 50’s . She was working until the last few months of her life and had no intention of retirement.
Jody was fierce and taught us all so much: the love of all God’s creatures, that Jesus’ love never fails, family is everything, the importance of creating a beautiful and welcoming home, to work hard, to feed the ones you love(often with her Hungarian recipes), to never stop learning, devotion to the Browns, flowers and gardens bring joy, to stand for your beliefs, love your country, strength of character, to never back down from a fight and that the world is a beautiful place. The legacy of God’s faithfulness and Jody’s love of life is generational and will never be forgotten.
The funeral and celebration of Jody’s life will be held Thursday, July 7th at 11am with a reception of friends at 10am at Stonybrook United Methodist Church in Gahanna, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in her honor to Citizens for Humane Action and Faith Mission. The family would also like to thank Tiwana from Ohio Health Hospice for her beautiful care in Jody’s last days.