Jay Rodriguez, former member of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross and a former vice president of corporate information, West Coast for NBC, died Wednesday in Palm Desert, California. He was 92.
A native of La Verne, California, Rodriguez graduated from Mt. San Antonio Community College, then worked for 13 years in the advertising department at the Pomona Progress Bulletin.
After leaving the newspaper in 1963, he was part-owner and manager of three Inland Empire dining establishments, including the Royal Tahitian in Ontario, which hosted live performances from the likes of Ray Charles, Martha & the Vandellas, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, The Righteous Brothers, Richard Pryor, Dick Gregory, and Sonny & Cher.
Rodriguez joined KNBC’s Community Relations Department in 1969, eventually becoming manager of press & community relations for the Los Angeles station. He was promoted to his vice president post in 1979, responsible for corporate and media relations and communications with industry, government and special interest groups.
Rodriguez worked to recruit minorities for the broadcast industry and served as president of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and chairman of the National Latino Communications Center.
Rodriguez served many years as a member and Chair of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the American Red Cross. At the end of his term, Rodriguez was granted the title of Chairman Emeritus of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter. He also served as a member of the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross from 1996-2002. In 1991, he was the recipient of the American Red Cross Spotlight Award. He was incredibly proud of his service with the American Red Cross.
Rodriguez also served as president of the Greater Los Angeles Press Club and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of La Verne.
After retiring from NBC, Rodriguez was president of the Hafif Family Foundation, producing local concerts that earned money for more than 150 nonprofit groups in the Pomona Valley. He also headed the Muriel Pollia Foundation, which raises money for creative groups and individuals.
Survivors include his wife, Marolyn; five children; nine grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. Donations in his memory can be made to the American Red Cross.