Toshi Seeger

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Born on July 1, 1922

Departed on July 9, 2013

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Toshi Aline Ohta Seeger

1922-2013

Born in Munich, Germany in 1922 to an American mother and a Japanese father, Toshi Seeger, loving wife to Pete Seeger, died peacefully at home at age 91 on the 9th of July 2013.

Toshi’s mother gave birth July 1st, 1922 while traveling in Germany. She entered this country at six months of age and took up residence with her mother, Virginia Harper Berry from Washington D.C. and father, Takashi Ueda Ohta from Shikoku, Japan. She lived in Greenwich Village and Woodstock NY in the 1920s, 30s , and 40s. Her parents and half sister Aline Dixon were a part of the theatre community and she grew up surrounded by art and theatre.

Toshi attended The Little Red School House in New York City and graduated from the High School of Music and Art in 1940. She was a community volunteer, festival organizer, writer, filmmaker, road manager, potter, loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunt. She met her husband, folk singer and activist, Pete Seeger in 1939. They married in NYC in 1943, while Pete was on leave from the army.

Toshi passed away eleven days shy of their 70th wedding anniversary. Toshi and Pete were partners in every sense of the word. They collaborated on everything from building their log cabin and organizing festivals big and small.

This was made possible only through Toshi’s tireless work, creative mind and meticulous organizational skills.

Toshi served on the New York State Council of the Arts and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Toshi collaborated with Pete’s manager Harold Leventhal on thousands of projects. She and her husband took their three children ages 17, 15 and 8 around the world, giving concerts and making field recordings and films in 28 countries.

In the 1960’s she was instrumental in the early years of the Newport Folk Festival and helped discover bluesman Mississippi John Hurt.

Toshi was an untrained filmmaker. She co-produced, directed, shot and edited films about music from all regions of the country and the world. Many of her films are now at the Library of Congress.

In 1965, when her husband was no longer banned from all television, she produced a show called “Rainbow Quest” for Public Television. In 2007, at age 85, she executive produced the Emmy-award winning documentary, “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.”

Toshi co-founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization and Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival. She initiated things that were rarely done at festivals in the 1970’s and 1980’s – such as recycling, wheelchair access and sign language interpreters.

Toshi will be remembered for her compassion, dedication to causes, as a matriarch within her family and local community, and for her cooking and elaborate organic garden.

While Toshi’s work with Pete was recognized internationally, she was also very involved locally. Beacon Sloop Club’s annual festivals – and could be seen each year whipping cream at their annual strawberry festival. Toshi’s stone soup was the magnet that brought people to the Beacon waterfront which ultimately transformed the city dump into Riverfront Park.

She was a member of the Beacon Sloop Club, Southern Dutchess NAACP, from which she received a Freedom Award, Wespac, from which she received the Peace and Justice Award, The Dutchess Junction Firehouse Ladies Auxilliary, the Mid-Hudson Progressive Alliance and Clearwater.

Toshi will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her husband, Pete, her son, Daniel (Martha) of Topanga, CA, daughter Mika (Joseph Bossom) of Tiverton, RI and daughter Tinya of Beacon, NY. Also, eight grandchildren, Sonya Cramer, Rufus Cohen, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Cassandra Seeger, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Moraya Degeare, Penny Bossom-Seeger and Isabelle Bossom-Seeger.

Great-grandchildren, Dio and Gabel Cramer and Liam Oulton. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews on the Ohta, Dixon and Seeger sides of the families.

She was predeceased by her parents, Virginia Berry and Takashi Ohta, her brother Allen Homare Ohta, her sister Aline Dixon and a sister-in-law whom she raised as her own daughter, Penny Seeger.

A Celebration of her life is being planned for a date in the future.

Donations can be made to any of the organizations listed above.

Date Of Service
To be Announced at a later date

Location Of Service

Guestbook Entries

  1. Dorothy Zuellig July 11, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    RIP, Toshi. Bless you for all the good work you\’ve done for those in need, + your family (especially clearing & building a home on top of a mtn!). Toshi & my mom worked together in the PTA back in the 50\’s. Thoughts & prayers to all of Toshi and Pete\’s loved ones…you\’re all a very special family in our country.

  2. Randi Speedling July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I\’m so sorry for your loss. I didn\’t know Toshi, but have seen her husband Pete at the Glenham School where I work and know what your family has done for the community. May you all have wonderful and special memories to help you in this difficult time.

  3. ROB MADDALENA July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    MY DEEPEST CONDOLENCES. I RECENTLY SAW THE DOCUMENTARY OF PETE ON TV. EVEN THOUGH TOSHI WAS BEHIND THE SCENES SHE WAS SUCH A GREAT INFLUENCE & A NECESSARY SUPPORT. WHEN I SAW A CONCERT BY PETE 50 YEARS AGO AT BEACON HIGH SCHOOL, THERE WAS SO MUCH CONTROVERSY. I ADMIRE THEM FOR STANDING UP TO WHAT THEY BELIEVED, REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES. THEY SEEMED SO SINCERE. I HOPE I HAVE THAT COURAGE TO ALWAYS DO WHAT IS RIGHT EVEN THOUGH IT MAY ALIENATE ME TO OTHERS. MY FATHER WHO NEVER GOT EXCITED ABOUT ANYTHING CAME HOME ONE DAY & SAID EXCITINGLY I MET PETE AT A BEACON PAINT STORE. MY PRAYERS & THOUGHTS ARE WITH YOU.

  4. The Sialmas Family, Dutchess Junction July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. Kim Papa July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    So saddened to hear the news of Toshi\’s passing. Thank you Toshi for being an inspiration and a model of how to be a great human being. Bless you Pete remember love never dies .
    KIm And Anna Papa

  6. Karen and Dave Papo July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Our condolences to Pete and your family.

  7. chris shannon July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Sorry to hear about wife(Toshi) passing.She will be in our prays. Take Care denise and chris shannon.

  8. Kurt Grishman and Family July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Condolences to you and your family.

  9. Ed Renehan July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    God bless you, Toshi. Thank you for all your kindness, love and mentoring – as well as the example of your tireless giving – all these long years. I will never forget you. – Ed

  10. Bob and Lorraine Tracey July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Dear Pete and family,
    We are saddened by the loss of Toshi, a caring and loving lady. Bob and I will never forget her smiling face and the kindness she expressed to us when he sang at the Clearwater festival. Toshi exuded light everyone who had met her.

  11. Josh and Susan Fried July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    We were so sorry to hear this sad news. Please know that you are in our thoughts at this most difficult time. Toshi left a wonderful legacy to her family, her town and the world. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

  12. Dottie Estabrooke July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    My heartfelt condolences to you Pete and your family. Toshi was a special person…having met the 2 of you through my employer, Charles A. Pincus of Fishkill, NY in the early 1960\’s…following events of the annual Strawberry Festival shared by my dear friend, Pat Eagen over the years. It warms my heart knowing the 2 of you enjoyed your journey together…. Dottie Estabrooke

  13. The family of Mechelle & Doug Nobiletti July 12, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    We are saddened by this news… we know our lives have been enriched by Toshi\’s actions. Thank you and farewell.

  14. Sue Newman July 13, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Heartfelt condolences to the Seeger family. Rest in peace, dear Toshi. <3

  15. francesca sansone July 13, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Toshi will remain in my heart, forever. She was quite the woman! My deepest sympathy.

  16. Peter Brooks July 13, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Condolences to Pete, Dan, Mika and Tinya from Peter Brooks, son of Nancy and Les Rice. I remember Toshi fondly from the days when we kids were all small and she and Pete were building their house. She was firmly in charge then and I bet she still is now!

  17. Phil Stern July 14, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    My family is so much richer for all that the Seegers have done over the years — from their activism to their love of music and of folks everywhere. We know that Toshi was at the center of all the gifts the Seegers gave. Thank you, and rest in peace.

  18. Harvey Barlow July 14, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    My deepest sympathies to Pete and your family. Toshi was an incredibly gifted woman. I will never forget working with Pete and Toshi in those early years of transforming the old Beacon dump into a park. RIP Toshi, we love you. Harvey F. Barlow

  19. Prujackson@aol.com July 14, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Beautiful life..toshi gave so much Prujackson @aol.com

  20. Len and Elaine Bard July 15, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    With deep sorrow, we have lost a wonderful friend. Toshi was so multi-talented, and a tremendous asset to many organizations. She was a true partner to Pete. We will always remember the happy and good times together. To Pete, Tinya, and the whole family, we give our deepest sympathies.

  21. John & Susan Bowman July 15, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    So sorry for your loss of this wonderful woman. Remember Toshi fondly working with her at festivals over the years. Rest in Peace Toshi. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pete and your family.

  22. Catherine Cole July 15, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    A truly inspirational woman! Pete and Toshi were blessed to have each
    other for such a good, long and fulfilling life together that enriched the
    lives of so many others. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

  23. Maria and Bernard Harris July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Toshi is a jewel who left footprints to follow and appreciate for generations.
    Heartfelt condolences to Pete and family.
    With peace/sympathy/blessings …. Maria & Bernard

  24. Rit Suraci and Darlene Suraci July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    You will be missed….reflecting back in time on all the festivals along the river, the sails, the first record album recorded in Newburgh at Sound House Recording, the long hours, slepping around my sound system in the begining stages of the Clearwater Festival and all the other festivals, the little chats we had, the stone soup, you where such a lovely person, the cabin, the fun, the vending…….. You will be missed.

  25. Jo Sippie-Gora July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Toshi was Pete\’s precious wife, companion, partner and friend. My condolences to Pete and their family. Rest in peace, Toshi. You did it all!

  26. Chris Fogler July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    In Memory of Toshi Seeger

    A Hopi Prayer

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn\’s rain.
    When you awaken in the morning hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry.
    I am not there.
    I did not die.

  27. Carney, Dorothyann, Julia, and Clare Strange (Bowling Green, OH) July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    As volunteers for the Clearwater Festival the past two years, we were so fortunate to have encountered Toshi and Pete as they spread their music and message to all. Like those women of old – Lydia\’s, Prisca\’s, Phoebe\’s, Martha\’s of Bethany, Veronica\’s, Elizabeth\’s, Anne\’s, and Mary Magdalene\’s of the world – all women who took their turn in changing it, Toshi made her mark with grace and determination to leave it a better place. Pete and family, we are so sorry for your loss and will always be inspired by how you and Toshi have gifted the world in so many ways. Our sincere hope is that you find yourselves in a place of peace in the time to come.

  28. Joan Petr July 16, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Sweet dreams, dear Toshi. My heartfelt condolences to the Pete and the entire Seeger family. All our lives are brighter because of her tireless contributions. Rest in peace.

  29. bob gimbi July 17, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    our loss is god\’s gain. hang tuff pete

  30. Ken Wilson July 18, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    My deepest condolences to Pete and the family. Toshi was truly a remarkable woman who definitely made a difference in the world. So long as we remember her, she will always be with us. Rest in peace, Toshii.

  31. Joan Gussow July 18, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Dear Pete. Those lovely pictures of you and Toshi through the years say it all. I guess one of you had to go first, but I\’m so sorry for your profound loss. I hope your remaining family and friends can support you.

    Warmly,

  32. Dave Cook and Heidi Custer July 18, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Tinya– Our sympathies to you and your family. What a great lady!

  33. JoAnne Renee July 18, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    You are missed, Toshi.

  34. Mahir Ali July 19, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Toshi\’s departure is profoundly saddening. She was, by all accounts, an incredibly wonderful human being. Our hearts go out to Pete, and to their children and grandchildren.

  35. Joseph Rao July 19, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Dear Pete and family
    Was deeply saddened to hear that Toshi had passed. What an extraordinary woman. Clearly a beautiful, talented and loving person. The Strawberry Festival has been on my list for many years but didn\’t quite make it sadly. Hoped to be able to say hello to you both but …. May she Rest in Peace and please know that our love, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.
    Kind Regards
    Joseph & Leanne Rao
    Sydney, Australia

  36. Barbara Kanzler July 19, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    You have always been a beacon of love, light and hope. We shared many Clearwater Festivals and raised our children to the music of the Seeger family. You live forever in our shared stories and memories. Your spirit lives within us all. Take care of our American hero, Pete. I am forever grateful for you.

  37. Bruce Collins July 20, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I became a fan of Pete Seeger when I was 14. I became a fan of Toshi Seeger when I realized she made Pete possible. May she rest in peace and here family find comfort in her long and productive life.

  38. Joseph Strunk July 23, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    So sad to hear this news, I\’ve been a longtime fan of Pete\’s music and later on I came to know about Toshi and their beautiful love story. She seemed like such an amazing person, her work will live on, and she will not be forgotten. My prayers are with Pete and the Seeger family.

  39. Elizabeth Ahern August 6, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    She leaves behind an enduring legacy that spans the globe. I first heard of her passing while teaching in eastern Turkey and was saddened by the loss. Though I did not know her personally, as a long time member of Clearwater I have seen the positive impact Toshi, Pete and the whole family have made for our struggling society.

  40. Kwame Ocansey October 13, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Tinya – my family stands with you as you mourn your mom. We are saddened but at the same time, happy that your mom is gone to extend her influence in heaven. We are proud of you and gratified that you will carry on the image of Toshi and through the younger give us unending years of the Toshi touch. God bless you and keep you healthy and full of the life you demonstrate all the time. We love you, dearly.

  41. Nancy Rodriguez January 28, 2014 at 12:00 am - Reply

    You a nd your husband Pete will live forever in our hearts all you\’ve done and taught us I will forever keep protesting the truth you both were so amazing go my friend your done enough thank you their are masses awake thanks to you both and I am one will not stop , till the earth is well taking care and there is NO mORE WAR period do you here this Obama this is what American people voted for you to do .but you keep standing with Isreal war instead of war anonymous is here and Obamas days are counted and so is the congress White House!

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