The reaction from the Mount Vernon community on Monday to the sudden death of Jeff Todd, 49, one of the area’s most beloved sons, has been one of shock, sadness and an outpouring of love for a man who lived life to the fullest.
A father, husband, business owner, and community leader, Todd was on his way to Nag’s Head, N.C. for a beach vacation with his family just after midnight on Sunday morning when a fatal car accident took his life, according to his sister-in-law, Susan Todd, who is married to Jeff’s brother, James Todd.
Jeff Todd was thrown from one of two family vehicles traveling south on North Carolina 168, when the car in which he was riding swerved to avoid an oncoming car. The car flipped over and Jeff Todd was thrown from the vehicle.
News about the tragedy quickly spread across the Mount Vernon community late Sunday evening and Monday and was met with shock and disbelief. Dozens remembered him in conversations, letters, remembrances and online tributes as someone who truly made a difference in every life he touched.
“Mount Vernon has lost a champion with the tragic death of Jeff Todd,” said Gerry Hyland, county supervisor for the Mount Vernon District of Fairfax County. “Jeff was an example, as a father, as a philanthropist, as a community leader, as chairman of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Mount Vernon Visioning Task Force, to be emulated by all residents of Mount Vernon. He was an extraordinary man who loved his community and was deeply loved and admired by his family and friends.”
“Jeff’s numerous awards include a Citizen Business Award presented by the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer Fairfax Community Champion in 2009 and he was recognized by the Board of Supervisors for his incredible generosity by donating thousands of dollars to local schools improving the lives and education of our children,” Hyland noted in a statement released to the media.
“His energy, passion and humanness will never be forgotten,” he said. “My deepest condolences go out to his wife, Becky and his children Kimberly and Hannah. His leadership, love and enthusiasm will be profoundly missed.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Todd grew up with his brother James (James Todd of Dumfries) and sister Judi (Judi Todd Darnell of Alexandria). Later, Jeff followed in his father Jim's footsteps, working as a franchisee of three local Roy Rogers restaurants.
Jeff married wife Becky on May 26, 1990, celebrating 21 years of marriage this year. Their daughter Kimberly (“Kim”) will be a senior at Mount Vernon High School this fall and daughter Hannah is going into 5th grade at Washington Mill Elementary School.
“He was a tireless volunteer at Mount Vernon High School,” said school principal Nardos King on Monday. “I considered Jeff Todd a very good friend, both personally and professionally. He was a friend and supporter of Mount Vernon High School for many years.”
“I hope all who knew him will live a little like Jeff to honor his memory,” she said. “He never met a person he didn't like. He had an infectious personality and made everyone he came across feel special. I am going to miss him very much, and I know that he is probably fighting right now for the chance to take St. Peter’s place to greet everyone at the Pearly Gates. I look forward to seeing him again. He was a special man.”
The Mount Vernon High School Majors football team held a special place in Jeff Todd's heart. He was made an honorary coach and "loved these boys so much," said a Patch reader whose son is on the team.
"He would open up his restaurant after every win," she said. "I saw him feed some of them after a practice when they needed something to eat. He saw a need, and gave and raised funds for football helmets that the team desperately needed. Most of all, he gave his time to these young men and showed what giving back means to a community. These young men, one is my son who is so hurt, will surely miss Mr. Todd and so will the football staff!"
Todd, chairman of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce last year, was remembered by his colleagues there Monday in a letter to members, after hearing the news: "There are no words to express this terrible sadness for the Todd family and our community," said Tim Sargeant, current Chair of the MVLCC. "For everyone who knew Jeff, it goes without saying that we have all lost a friend."
Memorial viewings for Jeff Todd are scheduled for Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Jefferson Funeral Chapel, 5755 Castlewellan Drive, Alexandria, Va. 22315. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday at 11 a.m., at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8710 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria Va. 22309, with viewing at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the Todd family requests donations be made in Todd’s memory to the Mount Vernon Majors Football Boosters. (Checks can be made out to “Mount Vernon Majors Football Boosters” and donations are tax-deductible.)
The address is:
Mount Vernon Majors Football Boosters
Burke & Herbert Bank
8738 Cooper Road,
Alexandria, VA 22309
Cards and notes of condolences may be sent to:
860 Richmond Highway