Hundreds of mourners gathered Friday to say goodbye to Jeff Todd at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Mount Vernon.
Todd, the former chair of the Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and owner of three area Roy Rogers restaurants, was a larger-than-life figure for many in Fairfax County. The 90-minute service, which began just after 11 a.m., was at times light-hearted, and celebrated a life that ended too soon.
The community was shocked to learn of Todd’s sudden death Sunday in a car accident on the way to a family beach vacation in Nags Head, North Carolina.
“Jeff’s life cut short is difficult to explain at this time,” said Father Luis Quinones, who presided over the service. “He was, to us, a man who reflected his love of God in the way he lived – loving and serving others.”
Judi Todd Darnell said her brother was an imperfect man who strived for perfection. “My brother loved you short or tall, big or small,” she said. Collecting golf balls was a quirky passion he had that “calmed his racing mind. He loved his golf balls… He had 9,243. If he had a bad day on the golf course, it was a good day if he came home with 25 golf balls he’d found in the woods.”
Just inside the church, mourners were quietly greeted with hugs, signed a guest book and viewed dozens of Todd family photos. Todd leaves behind a wife Becky and daughters Hannah and Kimberly, a sister, Judi, and a brother, Jim.
Members of the Mount Vernon High School Majors football team also attended the funeral, in their maroon jerseys, to honor the man who cheered them on in every way possible.
The team’s coach, Barry Wells, considered Todd his best friend and named him an honorary coach. “When we met, we were kindred spirits,” he said, speaking before the congregation. “We both liked working with young people. We both loved sports and there wasn’t a patient bone in our bodies.”
Wells said Todd told him it was fate the two met, to “help fill the void” left by the passing last summer of Todd’s father, James “Jim” Todd.
Tim Sargeant is the chairman of the Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. “Jeff always said ‘I’m just a burger guy.’ But we will never forget what Jeff did for the community,” he said in his remarks at the service. “He brought honor to the role of being a business leader.”
As the congregation sang “On Eagle’s Wings,” Todd’s widow, daughters and extended family followed pallbearers and the casket, draped in a funeral pall. As it was removed, Becky Todd kissed her hand, leaned forward and touched the casket.
Outside under cloudy skies, motorcycles from Fairfax County police lined up to escort the funeral procession to Mount Comfort Cemetery, where the Todds' father was laid to rest last summer.
The Todds’ Roy Rogers restaurants in Woodlawn, Belle View and Manchester Lakes were closed on Friday in observance of the funeral. The restaurants will reopen on Saturday.
“Dear Guests, It is with deep condolences that we announce to you the passing of Jeff Todd… We thank you in advance for your patience and continued support.” The note was signed: “The Todd Family”