The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley (YWCA) will host a community celebration of the life and legacy of Toby Osos. The festivities will be held at All Saints Church in the Forum on Saturday, August 4 at 10:00 a.m.
"We are assembling select individuals from various spheres that benefited from Toby's influence to highlight the difference that this short, powerhouse of a woman made in their worlds," explains YWCA Board President, Sandra Davis Houston.
Toby Osos passed away at the age of 92 on June 29, 2012 while out with a friend getting ready for her annual trip back to Indiana to visit family. She is well known throughout political and social justice circles and was active in — and was even a co-founder of some — organizations. Whether her more recent advocacy for the aging, support of the Democratic Party, empowerment of women, or her life-long devotion to racial justice, Toby was known as a stalwart, outspoken, action-driven volunteer and activist. Recent recognitions of that were the 2011 YWCA Racial Justice Award and 2012 Resident of the Year Award given by Aging Services of California.
"Rather than a great void being the overwhelming feeling of her passing, we wanted to create what you might call a ceremonial transition from life with the power of Toby's presence to life where we powerfully carry on her legacy into the future," elaborates YWCA Executive Director, Tamika Farr. "Anyone who knew her is welcome to bring their exuberance to the mix as we celebrate Toby and resolve to emulate her in some way."
Born June 11, 1920 in Michigan City, Indiana, Osos moved to Pasadena in 1946. Her volunteer work started within months of her arrival with the YWCA, her first residence here. Over the next 65 years, her "spare time" activities grew incessantly. Highlights include the presidency of the California Delegation of Young Democrats, a small mixed-race group that integrated a Missouri hotel in1950 before anyone heard of lunch counter sit-ins, procuring interpreters for Eleanor Roosevelt, and guiding an integrated group of visitors from Africa, Asia and Europe through still-segregated Washington D.C. on public transportation, a decade before the Freedom Rides.
"She was an ardent world traveler and had visited about 48 countries over the last 60 years. She truly was a citizen of the world," remarks her close friend and travel partner, Sharon Girdner.
Osos is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. At her request, memorial contributions may be sent to the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, 1200 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena 91101.