Longtime Harlem resident and youth mentor Louie Torrence has died. Torrence along with his late twin brother Ronald were known in the community for helping students graduate from high school and obtain college education. Louie died on Oct. 19 from cancer. He was 67.
Torrence was born in the Bronx to Louie and Ruby (Holliday) on Nov. 21, 1944, four minutes after his twin brother. He had two younger siblings. His family moved to Harlem, where he attended P.S. 5 and Frederick Douglass Junior High.
Graduating from Brooklyn Tech, Torrence had a life-long love of basketball. He spent his college years playing at Sheridan College in Wyoming and at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.
In August 1966, he married Harlem native Clarice B. Martin and the couple had three children. However, his influence expanded beyond his own children as he became a strong advocate for education. He encouraged his nieces, nephews, cousins and godchildren to pursue and develop interests in science, math and technology.
Torrence spent many years as an air traffic controller fighting hard for the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) during the Ronald Reagan era. He transitioned his skills from there to work in the weather and water management industry. Torrence also worked for Environmental Satellite Data (ESD) and WSI before becoming an entrepreneur of his own companies CALA Inc. and OneRain.
Dedicating his work to the community, Torrence and his twin brother spent a great deal of their time mentoring, tutoring, encouraging and coaching kids in basketball. They dedicated time with the New York Urban League and Harlem’s Street Academy, focusing on guiding Harlem youth toward completing high school and pursuing degrees on the college level.
Torrence is survived by many friends, cousins, nieces and nephews, godchildren, sisters Saundra and Jacki, his partner Yvonne Carrington, his three children Louie Christopher, Jeffrey, and Shelby, and his granddaughter Merrik.
A foundation has been created to further the work Louie and Ronald Torrence began in Harlem for youth. Email LRTFoundation@yahoo.com for information on how to contribute.