In Memoriam: Tobi HaleJanuary 28, 2005
NOW lost a national board member and a passionate activist when Tobi Hale passed away on Jan. 24. In addition to the national board, Hale was serving as NOW's South Central regional director, the Colorado state coordinator and the Estes Park NOW chapter coordinator. NOW members across the country are deeply saddened to lose our friend Tobi, who was only 55, so early in such a vibrant life.
Hale had been ill for a number of years, but always persevered in spite of physical and societal hurdles. She is remembered for her exuberant sense of humor and optimism, her dedication to women's rights, and her lovable service dog, Sapphie, who was always by her side.
Hale was a social worker by profession, a dedicated organizer and an early believer in computer/Internet activism. An out lesbian who used a wheelchair and was legally blind, Hale strongly advocated on behalf of lesbian rights and disability rights, as well as issues relating to health, poverty and rural women. She challenged the world at large, and those within the feminist movement, to break down the barriers that hold women back.
In 1994, when Hale was pursuing a master's degree, she was crowned homecoming queen at New Mexico Highlands University. "I think that the student body selecting a person in a wheelchair as their homecoming queen says a lot about the student body widening their diversity," Hale said at the time. "That's so important."
Just recently NOW re-posted on our web site a story about Social Security in which Hale was featured. As NOW continues to fight to protect Social Security from privatization, Hale's memory will inspire us to work that much harder.
NOW President Kim Gandy said: "The work that Tobi did on behalf of the most marginalized people in our society, as well as the laughter and warm feelings she created wherever she went, will live on for years to come."
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