The fabric of the Indian Rocks Beach community was forever altered with the passing John J. Todia II, who left us after a short and unexpected illness on Wednesday, March 2. John had just turned 66 on February 27th.
Born in Cleveland, OH, John attended Cornell University graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor's of Science. Following graduation, John attended the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cincinnati and Northeastern University.
John worked and 'served' in the hospitality industry, starting at age thirteen and retiring 44 years later. His career spanned management positions in airport concessions, hotel management, and hotel development. John also held senior management positions as Executive Vice President for Winegardner & Hammons, President/Chief Operating Officer and Director of Development for the Waterford Hotel Group, and Founder/Owner of Hospitality Solutions Group.
In retirement John sought a small community where he could make a difference, and fortunately, for the City of Indian Rocks Beach, what a difference John made! He realized that 'serving' would take on new and different meanings.
As an avid sports fan one passion John held was for his favorite game tennis. Many Wednesdays he would rush from his Rotary meeting to make his morning tennis game. First 'serve' - 9 a.m.
John's individual passions of tennis and wine took second 'serve' to his passion centered on community 'service', and no one did it better. The list of organizations fortunate enough to benefit from John's experience, expertise and passion is lengthy, including: Harbour House Home Owner's, Commissioner for Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning Board, Finance and Budget Review Committee, and Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Indian Rocks Beach, John 'served' as Treasurer for 3 years and President for the 2006/07 year and took Rotary's motto, 'Service above Self' very seriously. He assisted the Calvary Episcopal Church Sailing Program, Beach Community Food Pantry and was a regular participant in the Adopt-A-Mile Gulf Blvd. clean up. His most recent 'service' was starting a Backyard Fruit Pickup of excess fruit for local Food Pantries. His goal this coming year was to involve other Rotary clubs and create a county wide program. John had strong interests in the arts and music, constantly using his position as a member of the Indian Rocks Rotary Foundation to promote and fund art and music in our local schools. John was instrumental in starting an endowment within the Indian Rocks Rotary Foundation to fund scholarships in Arts, Music and Tennis. There was no aspect of the Rotary Club of IRB that John did not touch in some way. That was what 'service' meant to John.
An active member of IRB Action 2000, John 'served' as treasurer for five years and remained involved as a valuable board member John's most visible accomplishment and 'service' to the community was the success of Oktoberfest on the Beach. John was Chairman of the event from 2004 until his death and his constant vigilance and drive ensured this great event is what it is today. John was the heart and soul of Oktoberfest.
Our community has lost of one of its most valuable volunteers. His family grieves the loss of a beloved husband, son, brother, father and grandfather. We all have lost a very dear friend, who was always ready and willing to 'serve' whenever 'service' was needed.
John was preceded in death by his father, John L. Todia Sr. (1995) and is survived by his wife Anne; son, Jay (Gena) Todia, Fairhope, AL; daughter Dr. Jessica Todia and her husband Dr. Tommy Wilson, Midland Odessa, TX and grandson Tyler Wilson; mother, Violet Todia, Medina, OH and brothers, Rusell (Laura) Todia, Medina, OH and Jeffery (Judy) Todia, Schuylerville, OH.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 10 am Thursday, March 10, 2011 at Calvary Episcopal Church, 1615 1st St., Indian Rocks Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions may be made to the Rotary Foundation of Indian Rocks Beach earmarked John Todia Student Scholarships.