By Urban Media News
Martha Toran was born in Arkansas but moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a young age and graduated from North Division High School.
In her adult life, Toran was known for being business savvy. She and her husband James Toran Sr. owned and operated a popular bar, Torans Tropical Hut, which was the meeting and eating place. In 1986, the community gathered to celebrate the life of Martha’s husband James.
After the loss of her husband, Toran decide to close the business and began her life as an activist. Toran belonged to many boards not to just have her name in print, but she served to make a difference.
Toran served as a member of the NAACP, Riverwest Development Board, Community Brainstorming, Legal Action of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Ethnics Board, Chairwoman of the Central City Transit Now, and Minority Chamber of Commerce.
She was a tireless supporter of Light Rail System between Milwaukee and Waukesha and one the first African American women Governor Tommy Thompson appointed to serve Wisconsin Division of Tourism Task Force for the State of Wisconsin.
She was determined to create a city and state that would provide economic opportunities for all of its citizens through her service.
She traveled throughout Wisconsin and returned with recommendations for improving tourism in the African American and Hispanic communities.
A highlight of her community work was the work she did with tourism in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Courier Newspaper with the leadership of Jerrel Jones, owner and president, sponsored this endeavor for Toran and Carole Geary, who was then the publisher of the Milwaukee Courier.
The two women set out on the mission and never missed a meeting.
They traveled to cities and remote area of Wisconsin to help insure African American and Hispanics were included in the tourism campaign efforts.
This endeavor brought tourism visitors and revenue to the African American and Hispanic Communities to Wisconsin and the Midwest region.
It also created jobs in thee African American and Hispanic communities.
During that time, the State of Wisconsin hired its first African American in the Division of Tourism.
As a member and delegate of the Democratic party, she influenced governors, state representatives, legislators, congressperson and presidents.
Toran was there at Invesco Field in Denver, Co. “A Day of Change” August 28, 2008 when Barack Obama was nominated, and gave his acceptance speech to campaign to become the first African American President of the United State of America.
She always had her finger on the pulse of change. There are many great stories to be told about Martha Toran’s untiring efforts to serve.
Most of all, she understood the importance of political action, voting, the African American media and the need for resources for a people to prosper.
She understood the importance of economic empowerment and did her best to uplift those in her community.
Martha Toran will be missed but her memory will live in the hearts of many.
DOB – July 13, 1931
DOD – January 16, 2016
Funeral Home – Northwest Funeral Home Services – Greater Galilee Baptist Church
2432 North Teutonia Ave Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Tuesday – Visitation 9 to 11
Service – 11:00
Interment – Graceland Cemetery
Born in Harrell Arkansas to the union of Chester and Ola Wood
Married to James Toran May 25, 1950
Children: Sandra Toran Butler and James Toran Jr.
Memberships and Organizations
Milwaukee Ethics Board
Riverwest Development Corporation
Legal Action of Wisconsin
Great Lakes Beverage Association
Minority Chamber of Commerce
Owner of the renown restaurant and bar, Torans’s Tropical Hut better known as Toran’s, which was located at 5th and Locust