|(April 6, 2019) -- Martha Thuente, a visible and audible presence in Long Beach civic matters, and in North Long Beach in particular, has passed away. She was 81. (We learned of her March 24 passing last week but withheld immediate mention at her family's request.)
The family says a private service was held for Martha,, and a Celebration of Life will now be held on Friday April 12, at from 1:00 to 4:00 at Lakewood Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to Boy Scouts of America, Long Beach Area Council (562) 427-0911 (LongBeachBSA.org), California Aquatics/Pools of Hope (310) 537-2224 (caaquatictherapy.com), or US Vets Long Beach (562) 200-7300 (usvetsinc.org/longbeach).
Ms. Thuente was actively involved and plain spoken on matters ranging from Redevelopment (long-time member of its the North Project Area Committee) to LB's Veterans Day Parade (tireless advocate and volunteer.)
A fall 2006 edition of the Neighborhood Resource Center's newsletter credited Ms. Thuente's involvement in neighborhood issues.
...Cal Trans promised North Long Beach residents a sound wall to buffer the freeway noise, but ten years later, construction of the wall had not yet begun. As Chair of the Hamilton Chapter of the North Long Beach Neighborhood Association, Martha started a successful campaign to remind Cal Trans of the promised sound wall. Around the same time, the Redevelopment Agency began the process of adopting the North Project Area and Martha was one of the first residents appointed to the newly formed North Redevelopment Project Area Committee (North PAC)...Martha’s future vision for North Long Beach includes a new North Branch public library, and attractive, thriving business corridors that offer services tailored to local residents' needs. She sees a vibrant community that is willing to reach beyond individual cultures and work together, and envisions neighborhoods that embrace the philosophy "All of us together, not us against them."
[Scroll down for further.]
Although she favored trying to find common ground, Ms. Thuente didn't shy away from speaking her mind when it was politically incorrect, including naming the new NLB library (which she and more than a few others favored naming for someone with LB connections instead of then-First Lady Michelle Obama, favored by NLB Councilman/then-Vice Mayor Rex Richardson.)
Her daughter, Mary Uht, says Martha Sue (Coble) Thuente was born Christmas day 1937, the second of 11 children, who grew up in Ash Grove, MO. The family moved to California in 1954; she married Albert Thuente in 1960; they began a family (three kids) and Martha became active in school and scouting activities.
[Ms. Uht's remembrance text]...Her service to the community began as a neighborhood advocate, by "fighting city hall" for a sound wall along the 91 Freeway to improve the quality of life for the residents. Martha and Al's passion for honoring Veterans led them to become founding members of the Long Beach Veteran's Day committee, leading as President of the committee for 15 years. Her influence was also very present in her local Neighborhood Association and North Long Beach PAC, where she served as Chair for over 8 years. Her colleagues respected her firm, no-nonsense leadership style and affectionately bestowed upon her the nickname Atilla the Hun.
From its inception, Ms. Thuente appreciated LBREPORT.com's detailed news coverage and let us know her views. Her calls to us often began with: "I know you're not going to agree with me on this but I want to tell you..." and she did, and in detail, sometimes in calls lasting about half an hour. And of course we listened, and we learned and whether or not we agreed with her we reported her views in detail:
...Mr. [Gerald] Miller, Community Development Director Melanie Fallon and Barbara Kaiser (Redevelopment Bureau Manager), agreed to some very important concessions in return for the Redevelopment dollars. Per that agreement, all programs now in progress or planned will be carried out. All unspent funds related to the construction of the North Police substation and development of the park on 55th way are to be returned directly to the North PAC budget. In addition, any unspent funds from projects or programs in progress or budgeted are to likewise be returned to North PAC... ...North PAC voted in what we felt were the best interests of the community. I ask each of you to think about the best interests of the community before you cast your vote tonight. Forget that past promises regarding funding have been and broken. Think of this city's responsibility to provide a safe workplace for our police officers...
...Saving old buildings has its value. However, in this instance to preserve/restore the Atlantic Theater would be a major project...Use of the structure as a library is not feasible. First, and foremost, it is too small to accommodate the library and community facility planned for the North Village. Secondly, there are no windows to allow natural light into the space, and, to preserve the integrity of the building, none could be cut.
Ms. Thuente testifies to the RDA Board.
Ms. Thuente visible in foreground, listens to the proceedings.
[A month later in Sept. 2009, a slim Council majority narrowly approved the transaction [5-4: Yes: Garcia, Lowenthal, DeLong, O'Donnell, Andrews; No: Schipske, Tonia Uranga, Gabelich, Lerch.]
LBREPORT.com will miss Ms. Thuente's civic involvements. We sent our heartfelt condolences to Ms. Thuente's family and many friends. Thank you for sharing her with us and the city.
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