Here’s what various Long Beach leaders say about Doris Topsy-Elvord – Press Telegram

2021-12-22 06:24:42 By : Ms. Angela Feng

Former Councilman Dee Andrews. (File photo courtesy of Dee Andrews.)

Long Beach Branch NAACP President Naomi Rainey-Pierson. (File photo courtesy of Cal State Long Beach)

Gina Rushing Maguire. (File photo)

Phyllis Venable. (File photo by Drew A. Kelley, OCR/SCNG)

Iconic Long Beach community leader Doris Topsy-Elvord died on Wednesday, Dec. 15.

She perpetually broke new ground in Long Beach, such as being the first Black woman elected to the City Council and the first Black person to serve on the harbor commission. As such, she was beloved in the city. You can read her obituary here.

But here are some comments from other Long Beach leaders:

“She really cared about people. She was active in everything she did to make the community better.  She will be deeply missed.”

Rainey-Pierson was a student working at Gemco when she first met Topsy-Elvord, who told her she could do better in a career working with youth. Rainey-Pierson began working with the Long Beach Unified School District.

“She generously gave sage wisdom, advice and help, the essence of the ‘village’ guardian.”

“Her advice started me on a lifelong journey to open doors, especially for our young people, that is something I continue to this very day.  This beautiful, elegant woman counseled me, a person that she didn’t know.  Mother Doris continued to advise and lead countless individuals of all races to realize their full potential throughout her exceptional life.”

“Doris’ life was groundbreaking and that she was a wonderful leader is to understate her achievements, as well as her significance as a proud alumna of St. Anthony High School and role model for our school community. Her impact will be felt for many years, evidenced through the lives of those she touched and encouraged. Doris was a constant inspiration to me personally and to so many others, always supportive, smart and savvy, full of humor, kindness and generosity. She is now and forever will always be a Saint!”

“Doris was foremost my friend with a capital F.  She was generous, almost to a fault. She genuinely cared about people — even those she did not know. She always had her hand out, giving not taking. She was charming, witty, and always had some good advice and practically anything else you needed in her purse — safety pin, mints, Band-Aid, rubber band, needle and thread. etc.

In 2002, I convinced Doris to come with me on a trip to my birthplace of Montgomery, Alabama, and my hometown of Columbus, Georgia. She had not been South for any length of time since she left Vicksburg, Mississippi. I took her to Rosa Parks Museum, MLK fountain at the Southern Poverty Law Center (where she uncontrollably cried), Tuskegee Institute, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and so many more venues significant to the Civil Rights movement. Doris never stopped talking about that trip. She and I had an even stronger bond after we returned home.”

Get the latest news delivered daily!

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. Although we do not pre-screen comments, we reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.

If you see comments that you find offensive, please use the “Flag as Inappropriate” feature by hovering over the right side of the post, and pulling down on the arrow that appears. Or, contact our editors by emailing