Ramona Toledo Shump, age 88, of Topeka, KS, passed away on July 4, 2023, at her home.
She was born the daughter of Vicente Toledo and Eulalia (Lemuz) Toledo on August 21, 1934, in Topeka, Kansas. Ramona attended both public and parochial schools in Topeka before graduating from Topeka High School.
Ramona worked for over 30 years for the State of Kansas helping thousands of individuals on public assistance, find permanent employment through programs like CEDA, the Work Incentive Program (WIN), and Kansas Job Service.
Ramona became a community activist in Topeka during her time as a tenant of the Topeka Housing Authority. This advocacy culminated in the filing of a class action lawsuit Shump v. Balka in 1978. The lawsuit was ultimately successful.
The attorney who filed the suit, Roger McCollister, forwarded Ramona’s name to the Legal Services Corporation. The LSC continues to be the single largest source of funding for civil legal assistance to the poor. On October 11, 1978, President Jimmy Carter nominated Ramona to the national Board of Directors for the LSC. She served as one of two client representatives to the Board.
Fellow Board Members included the Honorable Revius Oliver Ortique, Jr., the first African American Justice appointed to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Michael Kantor, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. During her two and a half-year term, Ramona relished traveling around the country helping provide legal services for those most in need.
Ramona accomplished this while raising four sons and one daughter as a single mother. She instilled in her children an appreciation of the importance of education. Several of her children earned advanced degrees in fields like education, law, and social work.
In her down time, Ramona loved dancing, telenovelas, and listening to her beloved ranchera music, especially Vicente Fernandez.
Ramona was a long-time member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Her abiding faith was another gift she passed along to her children. She had a particular devotion to La Virgen de Guadalupe.
Survivors include her husband, Javier Alvarez, and sisters, Irene Barron, and Iris Guerrero. Other survivors include sons, Michael Toledo, Tom Shump, Martin Toledo, and Nic Shump; and daughter, Teresa Melito; as well as nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Maria Padilla, Ignacia Guerrero, and Joaquina Campos; and son, Gerald Toledo.
Ramona will lie in state on July 12 from 10:00 am to 10:30 am, followed by a parish rosary at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 at the church.
Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Ramona’s memory to Alzheimer’s Association Kansas or Holy Family School, sent in care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home.
Arrangements entrusted to Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave. Topeka, KS 66603.