I Loved Writing for My Mother’s Obituary

Crying together.

Written by my mother’s Deaf son, Jason “JT” Tozier:

A living visual tale of a most unlikely and beautiful soul, a native of the Great Pacific Northwest: Jody Marie [Post] Denniston, whose happiest birthday on Mother Earth was on the second day of July in 1956 in the city of Longview, Washington, she was the embodiment of graciousness on a grand scale, pouring out a steady stream of love to all, to bring about lasting reform and peace. This was how she spent her days and how she spent her life. All four legged companions and song birds she loved on this planet approved of her without hesitation.

It was unique of her in her spare time, whether by the light of sunshine or the cool shade of shadows, in many everyday scenes, she influenced so many people in bringing them to a love of animals, that for this she shall always be remembered, whether engaging herself with our flurry bird neighbors, or with humans, she touched all with whom she crossed paths, in this life or the the next.

Her life’s purpose, in the vocabulary of this brave new world, was to determine how to include all to take part in having a powerful voice, whether pertaining to those from the margins of society in how they are perceived by those who were ignorant of their humanity, or in many situations. This was one of her favorite mottos: “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.” She was given the gift of life who led a lucky existence, for all the people she was grateful for.

Jody breathed her last in the evening precisely at 10:09 p.m., with a smile on her face on the twenty-sixth day of July in Milwaukie, Oregon, battling one of the most painful of all pains, those brought by lung cancer and which were terminal in the hospice care. We are thankful for the guidance of hospice care on the part of those who are greatly appreciated for their time and service. Ron, Sally, Shayla, Steve, and Jason was at her side.

She was a fierce resistor, usually defiant. Her resistance against cancer included forays into the recitation of fond memories. Jody was a woman of indefatigable conviction. A full life lived was the focus, rather than sadness about soon passing away. Her mortal coils of spirited life wound around like blowing leaves on this Earth, as it revolved around the Sun some 65 times, creating memories that shall be forever peaceful. 

She was more than highly proficient in knowing peace during her lifetime. She was a very spiritual person. She loved old westerns, fishing with her father, believing in karma, 70’s music, walking on the beach, watching for whales in Depoe Bay, as a planner, gardener, a true homemaker cooking for loved ones, always available to help others.

Her various natures, being a zoophilist, dendrophile, thalassophile, sun worshipper, and an extraordinary hippie, as the lyrics say, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” This is where she found herself enriched and inspired by her greatest gift: “bred and buttered” two sons, Jason Tozier and Steven Tozier. Yet even through such scenes, love glinted the most for her sons at important times.  She devoted her life to her children.

Jody’s labor-of-love and a lifelong partner detailed her journey with Ron Clemens, a giant protector. One cool day in September 1995, her blind date became an insuperable gem. Ronald arrived at Jody’s house while riding a Harley-Davidson FXR Springer, which is the shape of a V-twin softail cruiser with spoked wheels, introducing himself to Jody in person. The rest was history in the making.

They were skittish at first, but hugging and smiling faces eventually won out. Jody took Ron in, and invested optimism in them as a couple, as they toured tirelessly around, spending their lives together for 26 years, by modernizing a message that they embraced with comfort in knowing that their better selves could never be taken from them, and together they could bring synergy in increasing the peace.

Jody had been victimized by the philosophy of Alexander Graham Bell, in that her son Jason, who they learned was in a state of being Deaf, was someone with whom they were told it would be better not to sign. This absence of sign language amounted to the denying themselves of a full relationship with their son. Love was denied them and him, in the meanest way possible. This was language deprivation in the making. Jody eventually refused to let others define her life and she continued to honor her Deaf son’s legacy by living her life to the fullest.

Her son Steven survived leukemia at age of three. The presence of love had been challenging, but a way was found to continue love and go the greatest distance possible, by bringing a bright smile, an infectious laugh, a big heart, and unconditional love. Nothing and no one could take away Jody’s pride in her sons. Jody was an accomplished bartender, server, and restaurant manager. She was the definition of “love thy neighbor.”

Cremation took place in the manner pre-chosen by her, and her ashes will be spread at her favorite beaches in Oregon and Hawai’i. Everyone who remembers her is asked to celebrate Jody’s life in their own happiest making.

She had been a student at Hudson’s Bay High in Vancouver, Washington, and Battle Ground High in Battle Ground, Washington as her last alma mater.

She is lovingly remembered and survived by her loving partner of 26 years, Ron Clemens of Milwaukie, Oregon, her proud sons, Jason Tozier of Washington, D.C. and Steven Tozier, of Yacolt, Washington. Jody will also be fondly remembered by her sister, Sally Jean Vingelen of Portland, Oregon and her brother-in-law Bob Vingelen of Portland, Oregon; her niece, Shayla Rielly of La Grande, Oregon and nephew, Tereso Cruz of Gilbert, Arizona; her great niece, Malia Cruz of Gilbert, Arizona.

Jody was preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and Jim Post. To all of her flurry children, she always ensured that every flurry child who crossed her path was happy and had peaceful nests. 

And so as the ages slowly turn and as our lives as survivors continue, all that remains for now to say is… Peace out!

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