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Obituary: Jody Sodel

Posted April 16, 2002
Jody Sodel of Atlanta, Ga., lost her four year battle with melanoma on Wednesday, April 3. She died peacefully at her family home with all of her children around her.

Joan (Jody) Elizabeth Shattuck Sodel was a longtime member of the American Saddlebred community and she served it in many capacities. In the early 1980s she became heavily involved with the Southeastern Charity Horse Show as a board member, and helped to raise more than a half million dollars for the charities supported by the show. One of her favorite causes was the Shepherd Center, where she served on the auxiliary board.

“She was a leader,” said Southeastern co-chairman George Ann Nash. “She was always so pleasant and helpful and nice, willing to do anything that needed to be done. She didn’t keep score of who did this and that but would always pick up the slack.”

Sodel became involved in the horses through her own love of family and her daughters love of horses. Her oldest daughter Stacy Sodel Womack showed horses throughout her youth until she graduated from college. Her younger daughter Lesley Sodel Miles grew up showing horses with her mother ringside and when Lesley married well-known horse trainer Todd Miles, Sodel was often on hand to cheer on Delovely customers and to care for two of her precious grandchildren, Raymond Tyler and Macey Joan Miles.

Jody also had two sons, Steve Sodel and Bryan Sodel, both of Marietta, Ga. She also had five other grandchildren, Shay, Dory, Shad, Morgan and Grace.

At her memorial at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ga., it was said that Jody was “as beautiful on the inside, as she was on the outside.” George Ann Nash took that a step further, “She was a very striking woman whose spirit was so rich it just radiated through her face.”

While attending the University of Georgia in 1957, friends decided to enter her in the Miss Athens competition as a surprise. The statuesque blonde won the competition and went on to become Miss Georgia.

At the 1958 Miss America pageant she created quite a sensation. She won the bathing suit competition and ended up as first runner-up to Miss America.

During her year as Miss Georgia, Jody made appearances all over the Southeast and even made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. She enjoyed the travel and the pageant but when the year was over, she retired from the pageant world, married and devoted herself to raising her family. Her greatest joys were the times spent watching and cheering for her children and grandchildren at school functions, horse shows, ball games, golf tournaments, swim meets and everything in between.

Jody will be greatly missed by her family and her extended horse show family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Jody Sodel Memorial Fund, Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, 4385 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, Georgia 30068.

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