Jennie Soda-Reed passed away peacefully at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at the age of 103. She was often described by her daughter-in-law, Shelly Soda, by saying, “If you don’t believe in Angels you have never met my mother-in-law”.

Jennie (Giacomina Natalina) DeFino was born December 24, 1915 to Domonick and Rosina (Lavia) DeFino.

Jennie worked hard her entire life but nothing was too difficult or too hard for her. She lied about her age and started working at the age of 14 during the family stay in Chicago and continued working, full time to the age of 90, last working at Flowerama on S.E. 14th when she finally retired.

At the age of 16, she bought her second job for $10 and worked at Universal Products in Chicago assembling cigarette lighters. After returning to Des Moines, she worked at the City Market where she met Tony Soda. They married in 1934 and had three children, Josephine, Sam, and Dan. They eventually built, owned and operated Riteway Cleaners on Indianola Road until 1962. She then went to work at Reed’s Ice Cream. She met and married Robert “Bob” Reed and continued working at Reed’s Ice Cream at the manufacturing plant on Forest Avenue cooking Reedburger and assisted with filling and labeling ice cream.

From 14 to 90 she treated every job she had as an adventure. She has been in customer service her entire life. From the City Market, Riteway Cleaners, Reed’s Ice Cream, The Iowa State Fair, Dan Dee Ice Cream Shoppe, Fashion Cleaners and Flowerama she enjoyed serving her customers.

She sold Avon, Stanley Home Care products, Celebrity Jewelry, Tupperware and the list goes on and on.

She learned to crochet at the age of 5 and became so proficient she could look at any crocheted item and reproduce it with no pattern. She was an excellent seamstress and made almost any type of garment including slacks, skirts, curtains, and formal gowns to prom dresses for her granddaughters.

At the age of 7 Jennie could kill and dress a chicken and became an excellent cook and baker. After the normal cookies, cakes, pies, candy houses and large meals, she would try anything. In her spare time she was always trying new recipes, hosting wedding breakfasts and large family dinners.

She deeply loved and truly enjoyed her large family. She loved her twangy country music and always wanted to learn to play piano but never did. She was a member of the Italian-American Women of Iowa. She loved dancing, cooking, shopping, gardening, baking, growing violets, raising guppies, her parakeets, and visiting with family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Domonick and Rosina DeFino; husbands, Tony Soda and Robert Reed; brothers, Joe (Ann), Frank, and Armond; sister, Clara (Sam) Cimino; sister-in-law, Mary DeFino; and her son, Sam Soda.

Jennie is survived by her brother, Anthony; sisters-in-law, Betty DeFino and Lynn DeFino; daughter, Josephine “Joey” Soda; son, Dan (Shelly) Soda; daughters-in-law, Marilyn Soda and Diane Stinson; stepsons, Dennis (Pat) Reed and Bill (Sue) Reed; stepdaughter, Deborah (Tom) Sewel; 12 grandchildren and their spouses; 20 great-grandchildren; 11 great-great-grandchildren; and her many, many nieces and nephews.

The family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 11, 2019 with the Rosary recited at 7 p.m. at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home, 5400 SW 9th Street. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 12th at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 15 Indianola Road. Jennie will be laid to rest at Glendale Cemetery.

Condolences may be expressed at

Service Details

Friday, October 11, 2019
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
7:00 pm Rosary
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Saturday, October 12, 2019
10:00 am
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Anthony Catholic Church
15 Indianola Road
Des Moines, Iowa
Glendale Cemetery
Hamilton's Southtown Funeral Home
5400 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
(515) 285-3911

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