We were sad to hear about the death of Sarie Toste. The news arrived after this week’s paper went to press. Here’s her obituary from the Times-Standard:
The only child of Frank and Mary Rodrigues, Sarie was born on March 9, 1936, and passed away November 6, 2011, following a courageous, 18-month battle with liver cancer. Sarie spent her childhood years at an Italian restaurant called The Big Four Inn where her parents worked for many years. Upon graduation from Arcata High School, she attended San Jose State, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree and her teaching credential. She taught in the area for two years and then came home to take care of her mother when her father was killed in a car accident. She then began teaching in the McKinleyville Elementary School system. She taught mostly in the seventh and eighth grade levels, where she so enjoyed working with these students. After receiving her administrative credential and her Masters Degree from Humboldt State University, she was offered a position as administrator at Pacific Union School District. At that time, only 3% of the school superintendents in California were women. She enjoyed for many years the faculty, staff, parents and especially the children. During this time, she created Grandparents’ Day and the Daycare Program, which are still enjoyed by many at Pacific Union. In 1996, she developed Learn to Earn, which quickly grew to be the largest elementary school savings program in the state of California. Recognized by the State School Superintendent, State Treasurer, and the Governor, Umpqua Bank’s Learn to Earn now reaches over 12,000 children in more than 150 schools throughout three states. Another highlight for her was traveling to the White House to receive the award for Distinguished School District. Soon after retirement from Pacific Union, she found herself in demand, being continually asked to serve as interim superintendent at Trinidad School District, Fortuna School District, and Jacoby Creek School District. She was then elected to Northern Humboldt High School District Board of Trustees, St. Joseph Health System Board of Trustees, Humboldt State University President’s Advisory Board, Umpqua Bank Divisional Board, and was a member of the Rotary Club of Arcata for many years. Some of her most rewarding times were participating in graduations over the years. She thoroughly enjoyed seeing the joy in the students and the pride in the parents when she delivered her commencement speeches, an honor she continued to cherish. In her later years, Sarie was fortunate to travel to many wonderful places, including the Azores Islands (the birthplace of her dad and in-laws), Canada, beautiful cruises with friends, multiple trips throughout Europe, and in 2009, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to visit an aunt and cousin she had never met. In 2011 she and Al were honored as Outstanding Community Members of McKinleyville and were recognized for their involvement in the community, serving as Grand Marshals in the Pony Express Parade. She also received the Jean Olson Career Achievement Award, as an outstanding educator for many years. She leaves behind her beloved husband of 51 years, Alvin; her greatest achievements, her daughter Colleen and son Jim; her cherished grandchildren, Andy and Brianne; her sisters-in-law Mary Borges and her family and Emma Toste and her family; and numerous cousins and other relatives. Sarie always felt that one of her greatest blessings was her friends; Dorothy Bianchi – the sister she never had – and many treasured friends she met throughout her life and in serving on the boards. Their kindness and love meant so much to her. One of her last greatest joys was a ride for the first time on a motorcycle, provided by the Fraziers and cheered on by her cherished friend Beverly Sholes. We wish to thank Dr. Bruce Kessler and his staff. Her doctor and friend for 28 years, Dr. Kessler visited her every day in her final days, including weekends, and, to comfort us, an hour before she passed away. We can never express how much that touched our hearts. We also thank the exceptional Dr. Uma Suryadevara and her loving staff for the wonderful care and compassion they showed to Sarie. Lastly, we thank St. Joseph Hospital and its staff for the excellent care and comfort she received in her last days. There will be a visitation on Thursday, November 10, 2011 from 6:00-7:00 pm. at St. Marys Catholic Church, Arcata, California. A Rosary will follow at 7:00 pm. On Friday, November 11, 2011 a Mass will be held at 11:00 am at St. Marys. Donations may be made to Christ the King Catholic Church, St. Joseph Hospital, or any organization that provides support to children.