Although a sad and solemn occasion, it turned into a celebration of a life lived to the fullest. Tori was an artist, a cab driver and raised champion dogs which she ran through agility obstacle courses. She loved nature, her dogs, her children, her neighbors, opera and the San Francisco Giants.
People who knew her from all these various aspects spoke of her wit, courage and vitality, of the joy she took in life and gave to others. They talked about how knowing her had enriched their lives.
A friend of Jessica's said that Tori was the only parent that they ever invited to parties. In fact, they thought she was so much fun that they wouldn't throw a party without her and that she would dance everyone else into the ground.
A fellow Giants fan told of how Tori was voted the "Queen" of a rooting section in Candlestick Park (back when her kids were small and they were poor) and how she magically contrived to get most of her subjects into games for free most to the time.
A friend who knew her as both a painter and a cab driver said that she went to visit Tori in the hospital and found that she had organized a party in her ward.
I knew her through the taxi politics of the last three years. Tori was a medallion holder who was very concerned with helping non-medallion drivers. She was on the board of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and, working behind the scenes, was instrumental in keeping the Medallion Waiting List part of the Pilot Plan.
She later did research and spoke with members of the Board of Supervisors about problems with the SFPD that eventually led to increased cooperation between the cops and cab drivers.
Later I learned that she was ill all during this period.
A few months ago, drivers Barry Korengold, Franciose Spiegelman and I joined Tori for a few drinks at her neighborhood bar, the Wild Side West. Toward the end of the night, she turned toward us and said with a warm, whimsical smile, "I'm probably not going to be around too much longer."
For once I couldn't think of anything to say and let others do the talking. And I've let people who knew her better than I do the talking here. I'd like to add that I loved her wit, her spirit, her courage, her direct way of speaking and her impish laugh. She set a model for us to live intensely and well.
We rocked out the memorial in her honor.
Rest in Peace.