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Jo Lasorda, widow of Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda, dies at 91

Jo Lasorda sits in her home in Fullerton
Jo Lasorda sits in her home in Fullerton in 2011. She died Monday night at her home, the Dodgers said Tuesday.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

Jo Lasorda, the bubbly and easygoing counterpart to her voluble, larger-than-life husband Tommy Lasorda, has died at 91 at the Fullerton home where the couple had lived for decades.

Lasorda died Monday evening, according to the Dodgers. No cause was given. Her husband, the exuberant and often profane former Dodgers manager who won two World Series championships, died Jan. 7 at 93. The couple had been married 70 years.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers family were saddened to learn of the passing of Jo Lasorda, widow of Dodgers’ Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda,” the team tweeted.

A breast cancer survivor, Jo Lasorda threw herself into community activism, particularly in raising funds and bringing attention to Thomas Lasorda Jr. Field House in Yorba Linda. The facility is named for the couple’s son, who died in 1991 at age 33.

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While Tommy Lasorda had a room-filling personality and a deep fondness for profanity, Jo was homespun and classically Southern. She said she never heard him curse, though audiotapes of his expletive-laced tirades on the field were frequently used soundbites.

Tommy Lasorda, who won two World Series championships in 20 years as Dodgers manager, died Thursday night of a heart attack after a long illness.

“You couldn’t pay me to listen to it,” she told The Times when her husband was asked about a three-home-run performance by Chicago Cubs’ Dave Kingman. “It’s ridiculous someone doesn’t have enough adjectives that they have to use the same stupid word.

“I told him you have to have more words in your vocabulary than that,” she added, laughing.

At home, she was invaluable to her husband, who she said needed help with every household chore right down to changing a lightbulb.

“Everyone thinks I’m a wimp because Tommy is so outgoing,” she told The Times in 2011. “Who cares what everyone else thinks? I just wanted a family, a home and to be happy. And you know what, I’m happy he’s happy and he can do exactly what he wants to do.”

The former Joan Miller met Tommy Lasorda at a minor league baseball game in her hometown of Greenville, S.C., where he was playing for the Spinners. They wed on April 14, 1950, a union that lasted until Tommy’s death.

Lasorda is survived by daughter Laura and granddaughter Emily, as well as sister Gladys Reeves of Greenville.


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