JoAnn Ritko Pozzi, groundbreaking Petaluma business woman, dies at 75

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JoAnn Marie Ritko Pozzi, a groundbreaking Petaluma businesswoman, died on Jan. 11 from complications of flu-like symptoms. She was 75.

She graduated from Petaluma High School in 1960 and went on to obtain her BA in management and finance from Sonoma State University and then an MBA in taxation and another in accounting from Golden Gate University.

She received her CPA License in 1975 and became the first woman to open a CPA Firm in Sonoma County. A trailblazer for equal opportunity, she was the first woman to be elected as president of the Petaluma Area of Chamber of Commerce and she was among the first women leaders to be invited to join the Rotary club.

Onita Pellegrini, CEO of the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, said Petaluma has lost a treasured member of the community.

“Sad weekend. Petaluma lost a great lady,” she wrote on Facebook. “We will miss you terribly. Thanks for all of your hard work for us, your community and around the world. You were a great Rotarian, a super community member and a special friend.”

Ritko Pozzi served on several committees and boards over the years and was active with Petaluma Valley Rotary, Petaluma Downtown Association and Business & Professional Women. A philanthropist, she made several service trips to places like India with Rotarians to do life changing surgery for children and women, and Uganda to facilitate donations of agricultural training, supplies and animals.

As the elected international finance officer, she traveled to South Korea and Egypt, where she conducted business for BPW. She was a student of Italian language and culture and was always planning her next trip there to see family and to garner information for her geneology research.

She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Natale Pozzi, and daughter Andrea Pozzi.

Services are on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. at Parent-Sorensen, 850 Keokuk St., Petaluma. A visitation will be held Jan. 22 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Donations can be made to the Ritko Vocational and Education Fund, c/o Rotary Club of Petaluma Valley - PO Box 2101 Petaluma, CA 94953 or to California BPW Education Fund, Inc, 21781 Ventura Blvd., # 330, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.

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