Opio Toure's family reflects on his life

Monday, February 4th 2008, 7:37 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Family and friends are also remembering the well-known lawmaker.

Opio Toure died early this morning from congestive lung failure. He was just 53 years old.

Those who knew Opio Toure best are saddened by this loss, but this wasn't a day for tears. His loved ones were happy to talk about Toure's many accomplishments.

"He had a love for learning," Linda Toure said. "He had a love for doing the right thing for the right reasons. He had a love for justice."

Linda Toure reflects on the life of her husband, Opio Toure. The two had been married for 32 years.
But in recent years Toure suffered from a degenerative lung disease. He was hoping for a transplant. He wasn't healthy enough to get one and the condition claimed his life.

"We talked about his illness and one of the things he always said to me was, ‘Gail, I'm in a win-win situation. I know I'm ready and prepared to go see Jesus'," Linda said.

Toure was an attorney, minister and professor at Langston University. He served in the State House of Representatives from 1994 to 2006. Former State Senator Angela Monson has known Toure for 30 years.

"I know Rep. Toure went into the legislature to make life better for other people," friend Angela Monson said. "He believed in doing what was right. He took up international causes with a passion, with a zeal."

Toure was born Ezellmo Stevens. He changed his name to Opio Toure in the mid ‘70s after two African Freedom Fighters. His clothing and his trademark hats reflected the change.

"The one common theme, if you really know Opio that ran through all those so-called different hats he wore was a burning desire to help people, especially the downtrodden, the underdog ," Toure's brother-in-law, Stanford White said.

His family says he was never one to back down from a fight.

Opio Toure is survived by his wife, his mother, two sons and three grandchildren.

A community funeral service for Toure will be held Friday night at Fairview Missionary Baptist Church. The time is still pending.