Sandi Codding, who died in her sleep April 17 at age 70, was remembered by friends and family as an elegant, beautiful woman with perfect manners and a love of couture who had an ease with everyone she met.
"Her mother used to say Sandi never met a stranger," said her husband, Jim Codding.
He recalled a White House dinner they attended when Ronald Reagan was president and a wildlife conservation event in 1982 where Jim and Sandi sat next to former President Gerald Ford.
"Those two went on and on," Jim Codding said. "He was completely captivated. But it didn't make a difference to her. She could talk to the ex-President of the United States or the guy who was here to fix the plumbing, and she could talk to them about anything."
Sandi Codding was a member — by birth and marriage — of two of Santa Rosa's most prominent families. She was the daughter of contractor and road builder Arthur Siri. Her second husband, Jim, is the nephew of developer Hugh Codding, whose building projects largely fueled Santa Rosa's post-World War II construction boom.
Jim and Sandi Codding were married in a house that Hugh Codding built on Midway Drive, where the couple lived and entertained many years. She, with Hugh Codding's wife, Nell, was a part owner of a fashion clothing store, Raffin?, in Montgomery Village. She served on the boards of the Codding Foundation and the Sonoma County Museum and attended President Reagan's 1985 inaugural dinner as a guest of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver, a family friend.
Sandi Codding was friendly and generous and spent much of her free time participating in charitable causes, her family said. She loved to cook, could tell a great story, and was proud that she was a scout leader for her children.
"The way I think of it is that anybody that knew her felt like they were her best friend," said Bedette Wilson, who grew up with Codding. "It's weird to say this, but as stylish as she was, she was never flashy. She was a very special person."
Jim Codding, 86, was Sandi's second husband. Despite being 17 years her senior, he said he spotted her at a wedding in 1978 and was smitten.
"She was 34 and looked 24," he said. "I was 51 and looked 51. I got it figured: it was 35 years and 7 months and 17 days ago."