Community mourns loss of Len Tobias
Sandy has lost another mover and shaker.
Leonard "Len" Tobias passed away Thursday, March 29, at 69 years old. Tobias was an active member of the community for more than two decades, serving as a member of the Sandy Fire District Board of Directors, the Oregon Trail School District Budget Committee and the Sandy Kiwanis Club.
Many around the city have expressed great sadness at his loss.
"He was very passionate in what he did, and that included community service," said Mayor Bill King.
King met Tobias in 1998, when King joined the Sandy Kiwanis.
"He was somebody I immediately looked up to and admired," King noted. "He led us on many an expedition fishing. He could be stubborn, but mostly because he thought he was right — and most of the time he was. I think his impact on the community was significant and the community will miss him."
Tobias was born in Portland on Oct. 15, 1948, and was a lifelong Clackamas County resident. In 1966, he graduated from Clackamas High School and started with Western Electric as an electric installer. After a two-year stint with the Federal Civil Service as a maintenance control supervisor, he worked his way up to Western's project supervisor.
For the latter half of his career, Tobias worked in sales, running the distribution and transmission equipment sector for the Lucent Technologies western states and then serving as the sales manager for Norcom Agency until 2007.
Tobias also served in the Oregon Air National Guard for 11 years from 1968 through 1979.
Len is survived by his wife of 34 years, Lilian "Lily" Tobias, his three children Jon Tobias, Wendy Tobias and Brian Tobias, and his grandchildren Ashley, Kylee and Cassidy.
This was Tobias' 25th year serving on the board of directors for the Sandy Fire District, of which he was the president before he passed.
"He's been a great asset to the fire department," Chief Phil Schneider told The Post. "He was always my boss, but when I became chief, he also became my friend. He'll be greatly missed for sure."
As board president, Tobias was instrumental in the planning of the new fire station. His name is included on a bronze plaque placed on the outside wall of the station honoring those on the board at the time of the new facility's construction.
The department also plans to award to his family the "Brass Hydrant" that 25-year volunteers customarily receive.
"I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face," volunteer firefighter Glenn Yeager said. "My favorite memory of Len was he always had a passion for running the sideline markers at the home football games. He seemed to really support being down there on the sidelines, having the best seat in the house."
Tobias was also a 20-year member of the Sandy Kiwanis and was instrumental in the annual toy drive and Christmas Basket Program.
He was a model Kiwanis Club member and even influenced the current president to get involved years ago.
"He's a big reason why I am a Kiwanian and a big reason why I'm a mechanic," Sandy Kiwanis President Kole Pearson said. "I grew up across the street from him (and) just as a kid he was always going to the events and was one of those faces you always recognized there. It made you want to participate and give back."
Pearson spent a lot of time growing up in Sandy watching Tobias restoring classic cars in his driveway.
"He was a big influence on people's lives, whether he knew it or not," Pearson said. "The community will miss him."