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Ceres mourns local daycare employee
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Joddie Ann Zuroff, pictured here at right, last summer at Kidz Ministry daycare of Ceres, died Sept. 28. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier file photo

A number of Ceres parents and community members were shocked to learn of the Sept. 28 passing of Joddie Ann Zuroff, a teacher's aide at the Kidz Ministry Foundation day care facility. She suffered a massive heart attack in Modesto at age 45.

At an Oct. 3 funeral service at Three Rivers Christian Fellowship in Modesto, Joddie's warm Christian acts of service were remembered. Mourners then gathered at Acacia Memorial Park where she was interred.

Joddie was a staff member of the Ceres daycare facility which opened at 2545 Third Street in 2013. Kidz Ministry daycare owner Brenda Cabrera knew Joddie for 15 years.

"She was a missionary at heart," said Cabrera. "She would go to Mexico on mission trips. She just served children all of her life.

"The whole community is shocked. Parents loved her. Staff loved her."

Cabrera said she either had breakfast or lunch together with Zuroff every day.

"You can't replace a friend like that. She's a once in a lifetime friend."

Joddie often did the food and supply purchases in Ceres for the Kidz' Ministry day care, which just opened a new facility on Whitmore Avenue.

Her duties in Modesto included that of being the children's ministry director at Sunrise Christian Fellowship. She also served on the church choir.

Described as very generous, Joddie would often spend part of Christmas Day feeding the homeless or giving away jackets.

"If she liked something she just went and did it," said Cabrera. "She was a people person."

"Joddie will be greatly missed," said Carmen Cardenas of Ceres. "She was loved by everyone who met her. She was very supportive of our girls in the volleyball community."

Evidence of people's affection for Zuroff's is born out in the online memorial fund campaign being collected at A total of 44 people donated $3,325 toward a $2,500 goal to raise funds for the Zuroff family to cover unexpected costs.

Born Oct. 9, 1968 as the youngest of four children in Conrad, Mont., to Roger and Donna Wingard, Joddie lived in several towns in Montana, North Dakota, and Washington before graduating from Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1988.

She leaves behind her husband of 19 years, Alex Zuroff of Modesto; two children, Kristina and Nicholas Zuroff, both Modesto High School students; her sister, Debbie Erwin (Steve) of Great Falls, Mont.; her two brothers, Mike Wingard of Helena, Mont., and Pat Wingard of North Dakota; and her mother, Donna Wingard of Great Falls, Mont. She was preceded in death by father Roger Wingard, who passed away in 2003.