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    Veteran LB Activist Joanne O'Byrne, Sic Transit

    (July 14, 2005) -- is genuinely saddened to report the passing of veteran LB activist Joanne Weinhof O'Byrne.

    Details are pending as we post. Ms. O'Byrne's legacy is visible basically everywhere in Long Beach.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, Ms. Weinhof O'Byrne played a leadership role in Long Beach Area Citizens Involved (LBACI), a proudly politically leftish group that at its height led successful campaigns which begat geographically-elected City Council districts (instead of elected citywide), enacted a LB Citizen Police Complaint Commission and LB Campaign Finance Law (Prop M)...and helped elect Alan Lowenthal and several others to public office.

    Ms. Weinhof O'Byrne passed away at a local hospice. 1st district Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal conveyed the community's regards to Ms. O'Byrne at the conclusion of the July 12 City Council meeting and added, "My hope is that...we will continue to work hard in a way that she really wants us all to do."

    A former school teacher, Ms. O'Byrne was also active in the local NAACP, LAMDA and on homeless issues. Her advocacy was polite, pointed...and frequently pedagogical. In one memorable Council appearance, she likened some contemporary practice to the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (in NYC in the early 20th century) which spurred workplace reforms. Some in the Council Chamber appeared visibly bewildered by the historical reference...but Ms. O'Byrne took pleasure in making it and in pressing her point.

    In recent years as LBACI receded from the local scene, Ms. O'Byrne became less visible, particularly after the passing of her husband...

    Gabelich win June 8/04...but we spotted her -- beaming with delight -- on the June 2004 night when grassroots activist Rae Gabelich ousted a Council incumbent who'd been backed by much of LB's establishment.

    We post some remembrances below. As we receive them (to we'll update this page. Click reload or refresh on your browser to ensure updated text.


    I had the honor and pleasure of working directly with Joanne for several years and I considered a mentor and a friend.

    Joanne had a quiet elegance about her and a strong commitment to justice, civil-rights, public service and good government. Joanne was people-centered and she positively influenced the lives of many people through her long teaching career and her civic activities. I know my life was made better having known her.

    Joanne, you have fought the good fight. Now rest in peace.

    Richard Green


    I had the honor of being in Joanne's history class at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. It was during the 70's, and I remember her opening my eyes to the many issues of the world both past and present. She was a tremendous teacher and she inspired me beyond words.

    When I became a teacher (also at Poly), Joanne was my model for what made a great teacher. To touch, inspire, and create dialog were just few of her many gifts. So glad to have had the honor of knowing her. P.S. I brought my very reserved second-generation Japanese-American dad to Open House at Poly. I couldn't believe my eyes when she persuaded my dad to try out the wooden rack [a medievel style device] she had displayed in her classroom!

    Grace Tanaka Ross


    Joanne Weinhof O'Byrne was a wonderful person who took a principled stand against injustice, anywhere. She was a friend to all people, all of the time. We will miss her courageous leadership, and wonderful smile. So long, Joanne....

    Tomas and Ginny Gonzales


    This saddens me to find out that Joanne has passed away. She was a topic of a conversation just this morning where I work at Bixby Towers where she had been residing. She had made many new friends there and also had many old ones that already lived at the Towers. Her loss will be felt by all.

    Shirley Vaughan


    Besides Joanne's activism, I shall always remember her as a gracious, caring, unassuming, nurturing, loving person.

    I shall miss her presence at those gatherings where we came in contact.

    Undine Wildman

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