Jodie Marie Averett passed away suddenly after an accident on her ranch on September 4th, 2017. She was sixty years old. A celebration of her life will be held on September 12th at 10 AM at Jepson Place, 17473 Wingville Lane in Baker City, Oregon.
Jodie was born in Seattle, Washington, on July 15th, 1957 to Janet and Vernon Gerald “Jerry” Russell. Jodie grew up in the Seattle area, with her younger brother Joel and her older brother Jeff. She went to Shorecrest High School and graduated in 1975.
As a high school student, Jodie sought to get a job at Albertson’s grocery as a Courtesy Clerk to save some money for college. At that time, the position was called a “Box Boy” and so the manager at the Albertson’s refused to hire Jodie since she was a girl. At the urging of her mother Janet, Jodie returned to the Albertson’s every week to ask the manager for the job. The manager always said no, but eventually he was replaced by someone a bit more progressive. The new manager immediately hired Jodie since it was obvious she wanted the job badly and would work hard once she got it.
After graduating from high school, Jodie attended Washington State University in Pullman and majored in criminal justice. Wazzu was where she met her future husband Tom, who was also a criminal justice major. She graduated from Washington State University in January of 1980 with a degree in criminal justice, and went back to her hometown to join the Seattle Police Department. At the time, it wasn’t easy to be a woman in the police department – the first women officers in Seattle had only been hired in 1976, and a lot of cops still thought women had no place on the street. But Jodie wasn’t deterred.
Jodie spent twelve years protecting the citizens of Seattle. She started off working a car as a patrol officer in the East Precinct, at a time when the Central District was a tough place to police. The crack epidemic and the associated violence was just starting to hit the city. In an era before the advent of portable computers, cops typically found stolen cars by checking them against a paper “hot sheet” which had the plate numbers of recent stolens. Jodie quickly gained a reputation for having a strong memory, and located a lot of stolen cars because she’d memorized the license plate numbers from the hot sheet.
Jodie eventually took several detective assignments, working both in the Robbery and Special Assault units. Her favorite assignment, however, was probably Mounted Patrol. Jodie loved riding, and after growing up riding in the hills of Mountlake Terrace, she had no trouble transitioning into SPD’s mounted patrol unit.
Jodie loved Seattle, and she truly cared about the citizens she served. Although she never hesitated to use force when she had to (once smashing her portable radio over the head of a suspect who tried to take her revolver) she was always proud of and grateful for the fact that she’d never had to fire her gun at a suspect. She had compassion even for the criminals she arrested; often pointing out that many of them came from rough childhoods. Jodie said that being a police officer for so long gave her confidence in herself and helped her realize she could do almost anything she wanted.
Jodie left the force in 1991 and moved to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho where she married Thomas Hamlett Averett and started their family. There they had three children, Elliott, Samuel and Kate. Tom worked for the Bureau of Land Management and Jodie took care of the children and worked part time as an investigator for the district attorney. Tom looked for ways he could spend more time at home, so when he saw that opportunity, they picked up their roots and transplanted themselves into Baker City, Oregon in 1998.
In Baker City, Jodie found a community she loved. She did not waste a minute before getting involved in just about anything she could. As a mom, she spent countless hours involved in the local North Baker Parent-Teacher Organization and volunteering at any event where another pair of hands was needed. She briefly worked as the dog catcher and code enforcer for the Baker City Police Department, cruising the streets to corral loose canines.
Jodie was a true Seattleite and loved a good cup of coffee. This was partly why she and Tom started their own coffee shop, Tenth Street Coffee, in the early 2000’s. Jodie was well-known for baking her universally loved cookies, which were typically about the size of a person’s face.
Tom and Jodie maintained a small ranch up on Hunt Mountain Lane, where they spent their days working, riding horses, competing in ranch rodeo events, and playing with their dogs. Jodie was involved with the Baker school district as a substitute teacher. She volunteered her time coaching the middle school and high school tennis teams and stayed involved with the local non-profits including the Backpack Program, the R.E.A.L. Reading Program and Open Door. Jodie loved any opportunity to help out, get involved or cheer people on, no matter the activity. Known far and wide to many as “Momma Jode”, she became the parent, coach or snack supplier for any team that needed her.
After watching all three of her children graduate from Baker High School, she embraced her newfound free time, spending many days with her husband Tom, either on horseback or the seat of a bicycle. She and Tom began competing in reined cow horse competitions in 2014 and Jodie was planning to compete at Reno and Texas later this season. Never idle, Jodie lived her life to the fullest. Always leading with an outreached hand, and an even bigger smile, her laughter, joyous company and endless generosity will not soon be forgotten.
She is survived by her brothers, Jeff and Joel Russell of Snohomish County, WA; her mother Janet Russell of Shoreline, WA; her husband Tom, and her children, Elliott, Sam, and Kate. She was preceded in death by her father, Jerry Russell.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to The R.E.A.L. Reading Program through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814. Please contact Jim Tomlinson with questions at (541)-519-4740 about the program.