Jeffery M. Raimundo
Jeffery M. Raimundo
Former Sacramento Bee journalist and political/public affairs consultant Jeff
Raimundo, 77, whose upbeat nature, intuitive savvy and talent for camaraderie drew people to him throughout his life, died July 14 from complications of prostate cancer. Family members were by his side.
Jeff’s influence ran deep in his native Sacramento, whether mingling in top political circles or aiding those on the streets. Tributes flooding social media spoke of his irrepressibly cheerful nature, his political acumen, his generosity and easy laugh, his seemingly endless circles of friendships, and his tireless service on nonprofit boards – including his favorite local cause, Cottage Housing, Inc. to aid unsheltered persons.
Many wrote that spending time with Jeff made them feel better about themselves. The Bee’s headline on its July 16 story reporting his death called Jeff “beloved.”
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, in the chapel at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 6509 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento. (Immediately turn left upon entering the grounds.) Viewing will be the night before, on Friday, Aug. 4, from 5-8 p.m. with recitation of the Rosary at 6 p.m.
Jeff’s celebration of life will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Sacramento State’s Alumni Center, located on College Town Drive at the back of the university campus. (A program will begin about 3:45 p.m., and Hawaiian shirts are welcome.) Jeff was a graduate of Sacramento State and editor of its student newspaper, The State Hornet.
Jeff’s byline appeared for more than 20 years in The Bee, frequently on
state and national political stories on the front page. He began his Bee career as a sports stringer and was hired as a staffer while still a journalism student.
His reporting took him from covering City Hall and the courthouse beat to the
state Capitol bureau and, in the mid-1980s, to the Washington, D.C. bureau of the Bee’s parent company, McClatchy. In Washington, Raimundo’s quick acclimation to virtually any reporting environment was illustrated in his election by his peers to the five-member Standing Committee of Correspondents, which accredits congressional print-media reporters.
In 1988, Jeff moved seamlessly into an influential career as a public-affairs consultant
with Townsend Raimundo Besler & Usher. He became expert in successfully running campaigns to raise sales taxes for transportation, schools, libraries and other civic projects on local ballots from San Francisco to San Diego. In Sacramento, his victories included local housing, library and school construction bond measures. Successful statewide measures included an earthquake-retrofitting bond measure for highways and bond funds to launch a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“Jeff has been a friend and business partner for over 40 years,” said David Townsend, his former partner in the firm now known as I Street Public Affairs. “Jeff was a very respected news reporter, political advisor and community activist, and the nicest person I ever met.”
Jeff’s was a familiar face among Sacramento’s elected leaders. He managed Doris
Matsui’s first campaign for Congress to replace her husband, Bob Matsui, after his unexpected death in office.
“My dear friend Jeff Raimundo was truly one of a kind – brilliantly smart, honest and truthful, but with an inimitable warmth and positivity that was felt by all who were fortunate enough to know him,” said Congresswoman Matsui.
“From tirelessly seeking out the truth as a reporter, to his impact as a community leader, Jeff was extraordinarily engaged and invested in everything he did. He loved politics at its best. He believed in the power we had to build up our community and deliver results. Jeff loved life, and his passion for the Sacramento region never ceased to shine through,” she added.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg commented, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Jeff Raimundo for decades, and I’ve always appreciated his professionalism and irrepressible ability to see the humor in any situation.”
“Jeff was a trusted advisor and good friend,” said Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper. “Our community has lost a truly great man.”
Jeff also was a familiar voice in the nonprofit community, having been president of the boards of the Sacramento Zoo, Cottage Housing, and the Sacramento Public Library Foundation. In retirement, he also was executive director of Cottage Housing, waiving a salary. He was a former president of the Pajaro Dunes Homeowners Association in Watsonville and remained active until his death on its sea-rise committee. He also was a current member of the Friends of the California State Archives.
Jeff coauthored three books: “Game Changers: Twelve Elections That Transformed California” (with Steve and Susie Swatt and Jeff’s wife, Rebecca LaVally); “Paving the Way: Women’s Struggle for Political Equality in California” (with the Swatts and LaVally) and “The Time Travelers: Meet Some of the Women Who Paved the Way for Equal Rights in California” (with the Swatts).
He was born in Sacramento on April 22, 1946, to Jeannette and Manuel Raimundo, both also Sacramento natives. He was married to Nancy Foster for 18 years and to his current wife, Becky LaVally, for 31 years. In retirement, he often said his greatest joys were his six grandchildren, three girls and three boys, ages 9 to 17.
He was the proud father of Scott Raimundo of Sacramento, Amy Raimundo Seaholt of Portland, OR, and Todd Raimundo of San Diego and an equally proud stepdad to Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez of West Sacramento, who won four elections to her district school board with Jeff as her campaign consultant.
He also is survived by daughter-in-law Amanda Williams Raimundo of San Diego, son-in-law Adam Gonzalez of West Sacramento, sister Karen Strobach Cali and her husband Ron Cali of San Jose, and brother Tom Raimundo and his wife Linda Raimundo of Phoenix.
The family asks that any donations in Jeff’s memory be made, at his request, to Cottage Housing, 1500 North A St., Sacramento, CA 95811.