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Mexican Traffic Accident Claims Life of Roslyn Tobey, Concert Pianist and Beloved Teacher

A Memorial Service will be held at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck on Wednesday, August 14 from 11am-1pm and from 5pm-7pm.

Rosalyn Tobey, 50th Anniversary portrait by Alton Tobey

(July 25, 2002) Flamboyant, accomplished, nurturing, "a vibrant and loving presence in the lives of all who had the privilege to know her." That's how family and friends describe Rosalyn Tobey, the pianist and teacher killed in a car accident in Mexico on Sunday, July 20th.

Married for almost 53 years to noted artist Alton Tobey, she met her husband in the late 1940's when she was studying music at Yale and talked her way into the art class. During their long marriage, the two interwove their careers and often performed together in "A Marriage of Music and Art Thru History."

For their fiftieth wedding anniversary, Alton prepared an almost complete portrait of Rosalyn wearing her dramatic black eyeglasses and a flaming red outfit. On the day of the anniversary celebration he whipped out a brush and finished the portrait by painting in the wedding ring on Rosalyn's finger.

With both Tobeys teaching and practicing their crafts at home, their personal and professional lives mixed freely. A student or visitor to their Murray Avenue home would hear the story of the art class or the wedding ring and many of the other colorful moments of the Tobeys' long life together as one or both Tobeys provided a tour of the large, dramatic portraits and paintings covering the walls of the living room and piano studio.

Rosalyn's studio with her two grand pianos was home to her dual career as performer and teacher. A distinguished concert pianist, Rosalyn received a BM degree at Yale University School of Music, an MA at Columbia, and took post-graduate studies at Mannes College of Music. She performed throughout the tri-state area and in Mexico and was active in numerous music associations for 48 years as past president of the Westchester Musicians Guild, the Associated Music Teachers League of New York, chairman of New York State Music Teachers Association # 4, and Piano Teachers' Congress.

There are many in Larchmont, though, who know her best as a supporter of their own potential piano careers. In June she would pack her studio with parents and students for the annual Father's Day concert where each student from the youngest beginner to the most mature, advanced player would have an opportunity to perform "in concert."

In a note to Mr. Tobey, the LeBlanc family of Larchmont point out, "She was far more than simply a piano teacher to their children. They looked up to her and embraced her as an adopted grandmother." They remember that Rosalyn "always made them laugh and she nurtured their self-esteem. And she helped them create such beautiful music... music that fills our house and provides a wonderful contrast to the chaos of each day."

In addition to her husband, Rosalyn is survived by her son David and grandchildren Andrew and Elizabeth of New Rochelle, her daughter Judy of Chicago, a sister Martha Namerow of Hamden, CT, and hundreds of students and dear friends.

The Rosalyn Tobey Scholarship Fund to support music students has been set up in her honor. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made out to Westchester Musicians Guild c/o Teresa Wager 66 Crawford Terrace, New Rochelle, NY 10804.


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