Celebrating the Life of Toby Osos

Causes advocating for justice, fairness and opportunity lost an eloquent spokesperson at the passing of Toby Osos on June 29, 2012. She was 92. Her life was a tapestry of threads bound together by the political and social issues she championed since the end of WWII.  Toby was active in — and the co-founder of some — organizations, from the empowerment of women, support for the Democratic Party, to 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 the 2012 Resident of the Year Award by Aging Services of California. 

Toby was born on June 11, 1920 in Michigan City, Indiana.  She moved to California upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1946.  Her volunteer work and her life-long relationship with the YWCA started shortly after her arrival in Pasadena.  Highlights of her career include: the presidency of the California Delegation of Young Democrats, a small mixed-race group that integrated a Missouri hotel in 1950 (long-before the lunch-counter sit-ins), working with Eleanor Roosevelt in a program guiding an integrated group of  visitors from Africa, Asia and Europe through segregated Washington, DC, on public transportation, a decade before the Freedom Rides.

Toby’s memorial service was held at The Forum at All Saints Church in Pasadena on August 4, 2012.  The service was well attended and included remarks from Senator Carol Liu, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, and a letter from Congressman Adam Schiff.  Other speakers included Sandra Davis Houston, President of the YWCA Board, Edith Grady, a resident and friend from Villa Gardens, and Jack Christy, representing Aging Services of California.

If you would like to make a memorial gift, Toby has requested that you do so to the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley: 1200 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103.

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