Edith Andrews Tobin, socialite and world traveler, dies

Edith Andrews Tobin, who lived within the upper reaches of San Francisco’s social circles and had an unfading interest in the larger world, died Wednesday Jan. 23 at her home in Pacific Heights. She was 64.

Except for her undergraduate years at Brown University, Tobin lived her entire life in or near the city of her birth. But she traveled fervently and extensively, including a prolonged trip to Europe after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017.

While she was a fixture in society columns, sometimes as a guest and sometimes as a host, events that Tobin was involved with often showed an empathy for concerns of a different sort from high-cultural galas. Edgewood Center for Children and Families was the beneficiary of one event. Another was for the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic.

The event where Tobin most frequently played a role, however, was the fashion show held every August on behalf of the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

The 2013 installment featured Oscar de la Renta and grossed $506,000, and the league’s newsletter noted that Tobin and other co-hosts “worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring all the pieces together.” The annual event had been launched in 1969 by her father, Adolphus Andrews Jr., who served on the league’s board from 1965 until 2005.

“She spent every summer up there as a kid, and that history was important to her,” recalled her husband of 29 years, Joseph Tobin. This ongoing commitment was part of her personality, he suggested: “Edith was never a flake, never a dilettante. When she started something, she finished it.”

Edith Andrews Tobin grew up in San Francisco and was baptized at Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill, an event noted in The Chronicle of June 14, 1954. She attended the Hamlin School in San Francisco and Santa Catalina School in Monterey before heading east to Brown University, where she majored in human biology.

She celebrated her graduation by taking a trip on her own around the world, the first of many such journeys — including a trip with a friend to Iran not long before her cancer diagnosis. “That one was way too scary for me,” laughed her husband. “Her idea of travel was to go to places off the beaten path.”

Her first marriage was in 1978, to John Dant, who died in a 1984 car crash in which she also sustained major injuries. Five years later, Edith married Joseph Tobin.

Tobin is survived by her husband, Joseph; their son, Joseph; their daughter, Taylor; her son by her first marriage, Charles Dant; her mother, Emily Pope Andrews; and her brothers, Adolphus and Gordon. A memorial will be held Feb. 4 at Grace Cathedral. Donations in her memory can be made to the Cedars of Marin, P.O. Box 947, Ross, CA 94957.

John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jking@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @johnkingsfchron

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Edith-Andrews-Tobin-socialite-and-world-13565826.php.

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