Ida and Joseph Rodondi

Earlier this year, the Sequoia Hospital Foundation received a very generous gift from the estate of Ida and Joseph Rodondi in support of Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital’s award-winning Heart & Vascular Institute. The Rodondi’s support will help Sequoia Hospital build on its strong legacy of pioneering cardiac care.

Ida and Joseph Rodondi were treasured members of Sequoia’s community having moved to San Carlos in 1952. Like Ida, Joseph grew up in South San Francisco but before finishing high school he was drafted to serve in World War II and left for basic training at Fort Ord.  From there he was sent to England to be a part of the first wave to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day.  Though not a combat soldier, Joseph remained near the front lines for the remainder of the war as a member of the famed “Red Ball Express,” an ongoing convoy moving essential supplies to combat areas throughout Europe. Joseph was the sharp-shooter for his company and liked to brag that he was the best marksman among his brothers.

Joseph returned from the war and worked briefly in the steel industry before becoming a realtor in the family business.  Once home he met Ida who had grown up in the Lomita Park neighborhood and attended Mercy High School. The couple was married in 1950 and two years later they moved to San Carlos.  They had no children and together enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. They enjoyed maintaining their garden and taking regular fishing and camping trips to the Sierra and Cascade mountains.  Family was important to the Rodondis. They cruised to Alaska with their brothers and sisters and enjoyed a monthly rotating family card game. While Joe worked in the business founded by his father Battista (“B.J.”), an Italian immigrant, Ida worked to maintain the home and gardens.

One of Ida and Joseph’s friends, Sequoia Hospital Foundation Honorary Board Member Marie Zahn, remembers Ida as a dear and kind friend and a talented cook with whom she exchanged many recipes. Together Ida and Joseph made Pizzeles, a traditional Italian cookie, for Marie and her family each Christmas. Marie and Ida shared the same hair-stylist for many years and Marie confesses that she still misses their weekly chats.

Ida and Joseph were married for 65 years. While Ida is remembered as friendly, outgoing and always one to let you know her opinions, Joseph was shy and more retired.  Although proud of his service and his membership in both the Veterans of Normandy Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), he rarely spoke of his experiences in the war.

When Joseph passed away in 2015, he was buried with full military honors in recognition of his service.  He was followed by Ida just two years later. Both passed away close to home at Sequoia Hospital.  Joseph and Ida were very private people. Their shared love of Sequoia Hospital inspired their significant legacy gift, something they kept to themselves during their lifetime.

We are honored to recognize Ida and Joseph Rodondi as founding members of the 1950 Sequoia Society.