Jonathan Paul RODD
January 9, 1971 – June 5, 2021
Jonathan Paul Rodd (1971 - 2021)
In the early morning of Saturday, 5th June 2021, Jonathan Rodd packed up his guitar and took to the heavens to join a new band.
After a heroic three-and-a-half year battle with brain cancer, Jonathan died peacefully in his sleep at home. He is survived by his loving wife Nina and their three amazing children, Haakan (18), Katja (15), and Teagan (10); as well as his parents, Michael and Nita Rodd of Cobham, Surrey, UK; and his brothers, Benjamin (& Lisa) of Bath, UK; and Owen (& Abby) of Godalming, UK and their respective families.
Though Jonathan grew up and went to school in the South East of England, he never forgot that he was a Northerner, born on Tyneside on 9th January 1971. His passion for the Newcastle United Football Team, known to all fans as “The Toon”, was unrelenting and had absolutely no correlation to the team’s success. Throughout his life he would proudly proclaim, “If you cut me open, I bleed black and white.”
Those of you who knew Jonathan as an adult might be surprised to learn that he was considered a quiet and calm child. The fair and curly-haired middle son of three boys, young Jonathan’s happy demeanour helped him to make friends easily. His lifelong passion for music began with singing in the choir of his local church, which he did for eight years, and flourished as he went on to play the clarinet, saxophone, double bass (for which he won a place in a national school orchestra) and guitar (acoustic, electric and bass). Jonathan’s love of outdoor sports was also sparked in childhood, as he represented his school at both tennis and long distance running. He became House Captain at his senior school, whilst his holiday jobs with several large organisations gave him insight into the business world and influenced what he went on to study at university.
Jonathan really loved his time at Lancaster University, where he graduated with a degree in Marketing and where his son, Haakan will follow in his Dad’s footsteps in October of this year. Whilst there allegedly was some studying involved at university, Jonathan’s proudest accomplishments from this time were the deep friendships he forged that lasted throughout his entire life. The stories of surfing on trash bins and pub crawls along “The Spine” have not been exaggerated and have rightly become the stuff of legend. Jonathan began his marketing career at Unilever and started using phrases like “3D child novelty water ices,” (popsicles to the rest of us) and "portionability" (which even got its own Wikipedia page). Then, after a few years he moved to Cheltenham to work at Kraft. It was during one of his many weekend visits to London to see his incredible friends that he met the love of his life, Nina. For Nina, it was love at first sight when she saw Jonathan sitting on the radiator in the front room at Nursery Road in his blue-and-white checked shirt, grinning away with a cheeky twinkle in his eye. For Jonathan, it took six weeks for him to realize that he would never again be so lucky in love, a minor detail that Nina never let him forget. They were married at Clearwell Castle on September 23, 2000. Jonathan was so happy they married in a year that would make it easy for him to remember which wedding anniversary they would be celebrating. After getting married, Jonathan and Nina moved to Dublin, Ireland and Stamford Connecticut, where Jonathan worked for Diageo, then he moved to work for Mars in Slough, England to become their Global Innovation Director. In 2007, he was awarded an O1 “exceptional ability” visa for his marketing work which enabled the travels and adventures that took the Rodds to Boulder with then two children, Haakan and Katja. Jonathan loved Boulder for its 300 days/year of sunshine, skiing, hiking, camping and outdoor lifestyle. Boulder quickly became home with countless new friends, as wherever he went, Jonathan created a warm and fun-loving community around him. It was here that the family became complete with the birth of Teagan in 2010, and the addition of two dogs, Maddie and Loki.
Jonathan brought his energy and passion to his work at Egg Strategy for all of his 14 years in Boulder, ultimately serving as the President of Egg, a marketing and strategy consultancy fittingly dedicated to exploring the messiness of modern life and to creating bold and simple solutions rooted in fundamental human truths, principles that Jonathan lived by every day. In typical Jonathan fashion, he also met incredible friends at Egg who would support all the Rodds through some of their greatest and most challenging times with compassion and creativity.
Jonathan was known for his deep love and commitment to his family, his creativity, innovation and empathy in his work, his passion for music, singing and playing the guitar (although remembering the lyrics was never a strength). Jonathan loved life; he really, really loved it. He had an unparalleled ability to turn an average afternoon into an occasion, and a deadpan sense of humor, given away only by the sparkle in his brilliant blue eyes.
So, wherever you are, pour yourself a glass of wine, beer or whisky in Jonathan’s honor, put on your favorite Queen, Counting Crows or Tom Petty song, and sing along as loudly as you can, because that’s what Jonathan would do.
Rest now, my love. One day our band will be back together. We love you always and forever. Cheers to a life lived to the full! --- In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Jonathan’s honor to TRU Community Care or The American Brain Tumor Association.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Jonathan Paul RODD
June 27, 2021
Memories of JR.
When I met Jonathan during his stint working for Diageo in the US, we quickly moved from innovation work colleagues to fast friends. And whilst working on new product concepts with JR was always a hoot, my fondest memories of him are from times spent outside of work with Nina and my wife, Deb. Boy did we have some fun times together.
I can still picture Jonathan sitting in front of a roaring fire at “Scallywags”, the downstairs bar in our Milford CT home and strumming his rendition of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He belted out the chorus at the top of his lungs. What a voice! I think of JR every time I pick up my guitar, learn a new song or make my best effort to “belt out” a killer chorus.
Another vivid memory is when JR and Nina visited us in Portland Maine, the home of fresh Maine lobstahhh. JR and Nina were a little leery of steaming live lobster and mining the shells for their succulent meat but true to form, this adventurous couple put on their lobster bibs and dug in. Towards the end of the meal, Jonathan took one look at the pile of dismantled lobster bodies in the middle of the table and had an epiphany, “it’s all a bit barbaric…don’t you think?” Now, whenever I eat lobster, I remember that JR observation and chuckle to myself because he’s right. It really is all a bit barbaric.
And when it comes to trivia, nobody could store more useless trivia in their head than JR and it goes well beyond “Rollercoaster Rodd” trivia. Did you know the muscle used by Dr. Evil for that trademark upward pointing pinky finger gesture that JR would sometimes imitate had a name…the extensor digiti minimi? Jonathan told me that once. I thought he was pulling my leg, but I looked it up and it’s true. Who knows that kind of stuff?
Toasting you on the other side JR. Thanks for the overflowing treasure chest full of wonderful memories and belly aching laughs over the years. You are one special friend, and I am grateful for every moment we spent together. Love you buddy.
June 27, 2021
It is rare in life to meet a couple like Jonathan and Nina Rodd - kindred spirits who you instantly feel at ease with, share so many of the same passions in life, inspire you, make you laugh and feel like life-long-friends you’ve grown-up with even before you have truly come to know them. Our 20 years of friendship began in Connecticut where Jonathan and my husband, Mike, were dreaming up “sessionable” beverages in their innovation roles at Diageo while Nina and I, a Finnish-Brit and a Kiwi, navigated the idiosyncrasies of American life.
It didn’t take me long to get to know and truly love Jonathan - a warm-hearted, multi-talented gentleman with a wry sense of humor and memorable “JRisms” who was head-over-heels in love with his amazing wife. The endearing Rodd romance story of how Nina won Jonathan’s heart was one of my first writing projects in a journalism course Nina and I took together.
Long dinners, game and trivia nights, rock concerts, at home acoustic sing-alongs and ski weekends kicked-off an idyllic start to our friendship. Roots deepened as we shared life events and new beginnings with the arrival of Rodd “bump” number 1 aka Haakan.
As our paths diverged and the Rodd’s moved back across the pond and then back over to Boulder, we have always savored our reunions in our different happy places, online chats and virtual toasts.
Jonathan - we wish we could crack another lobster with you, even if it is “a bit barbaric”, we will channel our inner JR “Rockstar” voices and remember the epic Tom Petty concert at Jones Beach. We will try and open our eyes and ride the roller coaster of life with the same enthusiasm, passion and bravery that you did and when we shake up a cocktail, we will raise our glasses to our larger-than-life friend in heaven.
Nina - we love you and we promise to keep the man you love to the moon and back alive in our hearts and when we reunite with you, we will make more special memories in Jonathan’s honor.
June 27, 2021
Jonathan, it was so clear from the first time I met you with Nina that here was a happy couple who were so much in love. That truth has echoed through the years, through your marriage, through your three wonderful children, Haakan, Katja and Teagan, and through your joint companionship as you faced cancer and your final days together. It has been an honor to have you as a brother-in-law and to witness the sparkle and energy of your relationship with Nina. We saw your passion in the way you were raising the kids with Nina, your enthusiasm to move to Boulder, your approach to your work, your love for music and singing and the way you lived your life with so much vigor and joy. Truly a life well lived. We love you and miss you. Joshua and Isabel have lost a treasured Uncle.
Rest in peace.
June 26, 2021
As friend to Simon Maddan and the Lancaster crew our paths cross numerous humorous times in London or at various weddings, parties, stag parties etc. Always a joy to meet and chat with. Best wishes to Nina and family. Top bloke.
June 26, 2021
I knew Jonathan a lifetime ago.
We worked together, partied together, walked the Pennine Way together. Goodness we even tried orienteering together. We’d ski and golf together, and his annual January 9th birthday pub crawl ran New Year’s Eve close for fun and mayhem. I have him to thank for Counting Crows and, even more importantly I’m sure he would say, for knowing all the words to ‘Blaydon Races’.
He invited me into the Nursery Road gang, to spend time with the wider Lancaster gang and with Ben and Owen. Jonathan’s tent was the biggest I knew.
I watched Jonathan meet and instantly fall in love with Nina.
Jonathan was a pathfinder for others. He was the first person I knew who practised mindfulness; his version was a dark room, candles, Dark Side of the Moon playing, a bottle of red. One of the first in our cohort to move on from his first employer. He, subsequently together with Nina, showed us that moves to Cheltenham, Dublin, Stamford, Slough and finally Boulder were not starting over; you just need a bigger tent.
Our paths diverged; I let a combination of busy day-to-lives and geography grow up like overgrown weeds between those paths. We’d exchange the odd Facebook message on birthday’s (his message, my birthday’s) but nothing more.
But I’d still think of him every time I refuse to pile my BBQ briquettes in a pyramid to speed up the heating process. I’d still think of him every time I’d hear the intro to ‘Round Here’, every time The Toon were playing on TV, every time I saw a guitar in the background of a zoom call, every time I used his nick name for me as a password.
I didn’t know Jonathan was ill until it was too late - cut down those weeds people!!
Farewell old friend. I will see you for a pint of Old Peculiar when our paths next meet.
June 25, 2021
Jonathan Rodd was a fabulous friend and was always there for me. Having met him in the 80s (we were very young) at Lancaster University, we studied and socialised together a lot (probably more of the socialising than the studying) and when we left we were friends for life.
When, in 1999, Denise and I were getting married, he was an obvious choice for best man and unsurprisingly, given his enthusiasm, love of talking and ability to get on with anyone did a fantastic job. He ensured on my stag weekend (bachelor party) that it was a great time but he helped me swerve a particular activity I wasn’t keen on with his usual charm and wit.
Come the day of the wedding he did everything perfectly, spoke eloquently and made sure we had the best day possible. It was fantastic to be his best man a year later and a great honour to have been his friend for over 30 years. We all love you Jonathan, happy trails my friend.
June 24, 2021
Jonathan, our son-in-law has been part of our family for about 25 years and although we shared his illness journey, his death came as huge shock.
It is hard to think that Jonathan is not with us but we can honour and remember him as an energetic, cheerful, determined, caring and most of all loving husband, father and family member.
There are so many memories and occasions to remember and one of these is the summer of 2019 and the celebration of our golden wedding in Finland, my homeland.
The weather in Finland is often most unpredictable but the Rodds had the most wonderfully sunny three weeks touring the country.
Although Jonathan was so skilled and able in most aspects of life, he could not quite master the Finnish language but certainly did I his best !
The visits to Boulder made us understand why Jonathan and Nina loved Colorado so much. We often said that one needed lots of energy to live in Colorado as there are so many different activities one can undertake and Jonathan and the family certainly made the most of the opportunities.
We will miss you Jonathan but through the tears and wonderful memories we hold you in our hearts knowing that you are now resting in peace.
Hili and Martin Fraser
June 15, 2021
I was only just getting to know Jonathan over the last 3 years, and have rarely met such a kind and gentle soul, with the calm confidence we all wish we had. Funny, witty, sincere, up for a laff, giving, considerate and just a bloody hoot to hang out with. I’m so grateful to have known him, and the huge impression Jonathan (& Nina) made on us. More recently Facebook friends during COVID (reluctantly) it’s also clear what an amazing family and legacy he left. What a great chap. Love , Condolences & massive hugs. X 🙏