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Toby Jo (Epstein) Jayaratne

Toby Jo (Epstein) Jayaratne

May 2nd, 1947 - October 2nd, 2020

Biography


Toby Jo Jayaratne, a beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away on October 2, 2020 at 73 years old, after a seven year fight with autoimmune hepatitis. Born to Barney and Cecelia (Waldman) Epstein, she is survived by her husband of 51 years Siri, and children Adri (Esther) and Kia (Randall). She will be missed by her two grandchildren, Leo and Navin; sister Marsha (Aviyah); and nephew Rashad (Emma).


Toby led her life with a passion for exploring the world. In high school, she saved up babysitting money to travel abroad for the first time and went backpacking through Europe. Her love of travel extended throughout her life, traveling to over 30 countries and living in both Australia and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, Siri's birthplace, became a second home. Toby could never get enough of her Sri Lankan family, the beautiful landscape, and especially the rambutans.


Born into a family who fought for progressive causes, her father and mother were active in the labor rights movement and brought Toby along for protests as a child. Raised with a belief that those who can, should fight for those who can't, she was a proud feminist and advocate for the voiceless. A lifelong democrat who focused on civil rights and anti-war issues, from the 1960's onward, she frequently attended protests, marches and donated generously to make the world a more equitable place.


An academic in all she did, Toby earned her PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1989, and worked for the university until the disease made it impossible for her to continue. She spent her career conducting research for the School of Public Health and the Women's and Gender Studies department, and teaching at the Residential College. She made significant contributions to the fields of both public health genetics and gender studies, as evidenced by the two National Institute of Health grants she received during her lifetime of work.


Her warm, positive, supportive, outgoing and inquisitive nature allowed her to form rich friendships lasting decades, and endear a network of people who cherish her and will miss her greatly. Toby's legacy will undoubtedly live on in her family and those who were fortunate to know her.  


In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the organizations listed below. Toby fought throughout her life for both voting and reproductive rights, and donations to these causes would help honor her legacy. 

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Family

About

Name Toby Jo (Epstein) Jayaratne
Date of Birth May 2nd, 1947
Date of Death October 2nd, 2020
Home Town Los Angeles, CA, US 
Other City Ann Arbor, MI, US 
Favourite Saying “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” - Bishop Desmond Tutu
In Memoriam Donation Planned Parenthood
In Memoriam Donation The Brennan Center for Justice
Family

Family

ParentsBernard Epstein, Cecelia Elizabeth Waldman
Grand-ParentsMax Epstein, Morris Waldman, Anna Faga Abromova Rabkin, Lena Saletra

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Anna Jones published a tribute .

To Siri and your family, I am sending you so much love. Toby was such a wonderful soul and I feel so fortunate to have known her. I had the opportunity to prepare meals for her and Siri in their home during the last year or so. It was by far my favorite part of the week! Toby was such an interesting, intelligent, and passionate person. She had so many fantastic stories about her travels around the world, especially in Sri Lanka. I will miss our conversations about nutrition and public health as we cooked together in the kitchen. I will always remember her joy and strong spirit (and her love of rambutans).

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Margaret Evans published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Adri and Kia,

We just learned of Toby’s untimely passing. Our thoughts are with you all as we know she was the ebullient heart of your family life.

Although we had not kept up in recent years, she was a good friend in years past. Toby and I, along with Nancy, Connie, Shin-ying, and Laura, were part of a group of women, somewhat past middle age, who would meet at conferences, eat at good restaurants, and generally have fun (in contrast to the dull repast of the conference proceedings). At one point, in recognition of a favorite restaurant, we called our email group “wild ginger” (a name we hastily dropped once it was noticed by some trolls). Toby’s cheerfulness and sense of social justice were central to the group identity. As we all moved on to different career paths (and conferences), the group scattered, but she is part of our collective memories.

We will remember her with affection as a good friend and a good person who made a difference.

Affectionately, Margaret and Gus

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Rhonda Salerno published a tribute .

My heart really sank when I received the news that Toby has passed. I missed wishing her and Siri a happy 50th anniversary, but I am so happy that they were able to celebrate those beautiful years together. Toby was someone who helped shaped the course of my professional career in early childhood education. As an undergraduate at UM, Toby saw something special in me and supported me in turning a group of very precocious kindergarteners (of which Adri was one!) into one of the best communities of learning I can remember in my many years as a teacher. I was also privileged to assist Toby and Siri when Kia joined the world and was honored to be entrusted with sweet baby Kia in my care, which was my joy. As a leader in education, Toby always inspired me to follow a path that included further study and advocacy for young children. She was such a genuinely caring soul in the world and my fondness for her will never wane. I send blessings to you at this sad time, Siri, Adri and Kia. Much love, ~Rhonda*

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Katie & Dan published a tribute .

We have put off writing on Toby’s website - afraid if we did that it would mean we were saying goodbye. This is not a goodbye.
We see Toby’s smile when she looks at the quilt hanging in our bedroom, filled with colorful tropical animals. She smiles at the Australian aboriginal cloth she brought us for our dining room and sees the pillows and quilted runners throughout the house made from Siri’s sarongs.
When we spread the table cloth she brought us from Sri Lanka, we hear her food preferences while admonishing Katie for her preferences.
It is October and we wait for her call saying it is time to carve pumpkins and decide on Halloween costumes.
In November, she will be calling, exclaiming it is time to get our tickets for the Folk Festival in January.
In February, she will be calling to say it is time to make reservations for birdwatching at Maumee Bay in May.
Throughout the year, she will be calling to plan another winter adventure - Florida, or Costa Rica, or Panama – anywhere Siri will be warm.
Toby calls to ask about the next book for Book Club. Maybe she will read it, maybe she won’t.
There will be calls back and forth about when to see the next Michael Moore movie, where we should go out to eat Friday night, what time to go biking on the Lakeland Trail, where to meet in Alaska or California when on separate trips with our families.

We will promise NOT to talk politics, but then we will. She is channeling her political gumption through Dan as he talks with voters about this Fall’s election.
Toby shared her friends without hesitation, and they became ours. As our friendship circle widened, she was the “glue” holding us together.
We see her laugh and smile now, eyes twinkling, not holding back.

Her enthusiasm swept us along like a loving tornado. Our lives would have been so very much less without her.

Yet this is not a goodbye. Toby will be in our hearts always
-- how could she not be among us? - Katie and Dan

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Ajit And Premala Jayaratne published a tribute .

She introduced us in Sri Lanka a couple of dishes which we had not heard of. Guacamole, a lovely dish enjoyed by us still. We had not heard of Tofu until we heard of it before even though all of us are strict vegetarians. An interesting part of Toby was her love of experiencing new things. Her daily visit to the Pola (market) and finding sonething new every time. I have had many interesting discussion with her on most topics and I found her to be very warm and friendly. I will really wish her. May she be born in a place where she can hear the Dhamma. We remember Toby thoroughly enjoying the peraheras particularly the drumming.

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Tiyana published a tribute .

It is with deep sadness, that I pen these words. Aunt Toby was one person who I enjoyed talking with a great deal. I enjoyed spending time with them in Michigan and in Chicago. When they visited us in Sri Lanka she and I got together and made the Guacamole dip. And every time i make the dip i remember her.

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Shanthi & Punch Jayaratne published a tribute .

We are going to miss Toby. We were lucky to have spent some time with her, Siri, Adri, Esther & Leo at Jith's house in Berkely in 2018. May she attain Nibbana (where there is neither suffering nor desire).We are standing behind Siri, Adri & Kia to get through these difficult times.

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Marcia And Don Ehrlich published a tribute .

I met Toby when I went to work at ISR. She arranged a baby shower for me, but it was cut short when I went into labor with twins, which were quite unexpected. Toby didn't blink an eye. She returned whatever they had bought and came away with a double stroller for us. She was the most ebullient and enthusiastic person I have known. She extolled the wonders of Sri Lanka until Don and I decided to visit her and Siri when they were there. They drove us around, sharing their inside knowledge of that beautiful country. Our lives have been greatly enriched by our times and phone calls with Toby and Siri. We send our heartfelt condolences to you all.

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Donald Ryujin published a tribute .

To have known Toby since our days in graduate school is one of the blessings of my life. So much enthusiasm, hope, energy, humanity and friendship. Toby and Siri's visits to our home in California will always be cherished. You will always be remembered and missed. Cynthia and I send our most profound condolences to Siri, the children and grandchildren.

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Elana Mosesova published a tribute .

My deepest condolences go out to Toby’s family. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. She was an extraordinary woman.
I met her when I was an incoming SPH student and joined the GEDI project. She taught me research methods and lit review skills with so much passion, enthusiasm, and warmth. Once I had just completed an interview from a respondent; it had gone so well and she was so excited for me. She just loved seeing people learn and grow.
She will be deeply missed. May she rest in peace.

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Preethi Jayaratne published a tribute .

Remember Toby with love and gratitude during the year I spent with her and Siri. Recall too her love of savoring new experiences that made her a great traveling companion! Their wonderful marriage would I hope help Siri during the years to come.

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Jean And Richard published a tribute .

Richard and I are so moved by your family’s care of Toby and we are so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful life with so many contributions to the world. We feel lucky to have known her.

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Marcy Plunkett published a comment .

Toby was one of my dearest friends. She leaves a big hole, but also a big legacy of memories of times we shared as friends, families, & friendship groups. There is no way to sum up what Toby meant to me, but I can say that I always respected her capacities for enthusiasm, amazement, and curiosity about life. She had a fine mind and a strong sense of self and purpose, always.

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Liz Suhay published a tribute .

I am deeply saddened to hear of Toby’s passing. She was such an energetic and optimistic person—even while grappling with her illness—it’s hard to believe she’s really gone.

Toby single-handedly changed my career trajectory when she recruited me 12 years ago to work together on a paper about the relationship between Americans’ genetic attributions and their political views. Her work on people’s beliefs about genetics has had a huge scholarly impact. As a co-author, Toby was both delightful and exacting. As a mentor, she was a guide and a cheerleader.

I feel as though we were just getting to know one another. When her sickness led to her early retirement and, thus, an end to our collaborations, we occasionally talked on the phone (I could talk with her for hours - about research, and of course politics!) and we made plans to visit one another in person in Ann Arbor.

I regret not getting that visit in sooner, but I feel very, very lucky to have known her.

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Beverly Yashar published a tribute .

I am so sorry to hear of Toby's passing. She was an incredible life force who had a way of bringing everyone along with her to a more positive space. It was an honor to have had the chance work with and learn from her over the years we collaborated. I having been hearing her wonderful laugh in my head quite a bit since I learned of her passing and am sure that I am not the only person to have so many fond memories of her love of people, life, food and most of all her family.

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Sreyashi Dey published a tribute .

Dear Siri and family: We are very sad to hear the news of Toby's passing. We have fond memories of the times that we met Toby, including in Naples a few months ago. So glad that we could have that evening with both of you. I especially remember her appreciating my dance performances, and it meant a lot to me. Our deepest condolences to all of you.

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Kathy And Mark Kuipers published a tribute .

We are deeply saddened to hear of Toby's death and send our heartfelt sympathies to Siri, Adri, Kia, and your family. Like others on this site, we have been friends for a long time (since 1975 in Pullman) and through visits, phone calls, and holiday letters (much thanks to Toby), we were able to sustain that. For having Toby in our lives--her joy, kindness to others, earnest late-night discussions (politics, survey research, make-up!), and all of the times of giggling and laughter--we are most grateful. Hiking, canoeing, camping (throughout the Northwest) and cooling off in our creek (here in Montana) will remain some of our best memories. With big, out-stretched arms, we send love and hugs to your family.

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Sharon Moskwiak published a tribute .

My heart goes out to Siri, Adri, and Kia. Toby was such a kind and loving person. I have so many fond memories of Toby at football games and the many SSW events. She was always smiling and loved to talk about her amazing children! Siri, please know that I'm keeping you all in my heart and prayers. May Toby rest in peace. Much Love to all of you.

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Evelyn Martin published a tribute .

Our hearts go out to your family in the loss of Toby. We held her deep in our hearts with deep affection. I was so heartbroken when I heard the news. May her life and memory comfort all who knew her. - Evelyn Martin

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Jith Jayaratne published a tribute .

When I was a kid in Sri Lanka, I recall Aunt Toby’s visits with Uncle Siri to Sri Lanka, her excitement and her love of travel when exploring that country where Uncle Siri grew up. Once I arrived in the US and settled down here, Aunt Toby was invariably a warm, generous and welcoming presence, an integral part of so many family events like Thanksgivings (my first in the US was at her home), weddings (Toby and family being part of my wedding party), and births. Along with these milestone events, I associate Aunt Toby with many small but revealing things that show her joie de vivre, her wide range of interests and her thoughtfulness – things as varied as Shel Silverstein’s poetry (her gift of Silverstein’s books remain my kids’ favorite) and Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor (which she introduced me to and we always make it a point to locate comparable delis, which is difficult of course, wherever we live and recall Toby when we do). I am so glad that we got to see her during the last few years when she traveled to California. I will miss her greatly and I will always recall her with love.
Jith Jayaratne

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Terri Madison published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Kia, and Adri,
I am so sorry to hear this news. Mike and I have great memories of commiserating with Toby (and Francis) during the high school years of the Morgan/Gaby/Kia friendship and shenanigans. Clearly Toby has made a difference in this world and you all have so much to be proud of. We are so sorry for your loss - our hearts and good wishes are with you. With love, Terri and Mike

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Noreen Hall published a tribute .

I met Toby a couple of times, the last a few years ago at my sister, Connie Flanagan's home. She was gushing at my new grand niece, clearly enthralled with babies. While I did not know her well personally, my sister cherished her and Siri's friendship. May Toby's light shine on through all that knew her. It sounds as though she got a great deal started for the rest of us to keep working on.

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Connie Flanagan published a comment .

Siri, Adri, and Kia
Les and I send our deepest condolences. As Noreen, my sister, says, I cherished Toby. From the day I met her as an aspiring grad student, we clicked. Our values and politics were in sync. She was always generous with insights, advice, support, and wrapped it all in a sense of humor about the absurd. I will miss her but count myself lucky to have known her.

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Ritesh Mistry published a tribute .

Dear Siri and family, we are very saddened to hear about Toby’s passing. We have very fond memories of Toby and her generous, friendly, and caring spirit. She made my family feel so welcomed when we moved to Ann Arbor. We will miss her. Our condolences to you all. Please take care. -Ritesh, Petra and Amelia

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Barbara Israel published a tribute .

I am so saddened to hear of Toby's death. She was indeed a very special person who cared deeply, lived by her convictions, and committed her life to social justice, family, friends, colleagues and students. She was an inspiration and role model to many - I feel fortunate to be among them. She will be sorely missed - and always remembered. My heart goes out to Siri and family.

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Christy Buchanan published a tribute .

I am so sorry to hear this news. Toby made this world a better place. As a young, insecure, graduate student, her kindness and support gave me confidence. Over those graduate school years, she shared her knowledge, experience, insights, and understanding generously. In more recent years, although we had less frequent contact, the contacts we had always brought a sense of joy, inspiration, and energy. It was wonderful to reconnect when she (and you) welcomed our family so warmly for a wonderful meal in your home when my daughter was considering UM for college. I am so sorry to learn about her illness and death. The world needs more people like Toby. The good news is how many people she inspired to be more loving, giving, and active in fighting for justice. I send my love and condolences to you, Siri, Adri, and Kia.

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Mike & Carol Epstein published a tribute .

Carol and I are very sad to learn of Toby's passing. Besides being my cousin and growing up together, I fondly remember her as an incoming freshman at UCR. She adjusted very quickly and did well.

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Kim And Jon Frisch published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Kia, and Adri,
We are very sorry to hear of your loss and send our deepest condolences. Although we only had the pleasure of meeting Toby a few times, we enjoyed hearing how passionately she spoke about her research (and of course, her family). Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

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Rita Thomason published a tribute .

Siri, Adri and Kia, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Toby was a client of mine my whole career and I considered her to be a good friend. In the years I cut her hair we had many conversations in which we shared our lives together. She was truly one of the most kind, thoughtful and interesting people and I will greatly miss her. My heart goes out to your family.

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Margaret And Larry Root published a tribute .

Dear Siri, When you and toby returned from Sri Lanka and visited when our kids were all young, you brought us a family of 4 elephants as sweet figurines which still reside on the ledge of our kitchen window. In memory of Toby and those happy days of our youth, here is a picture of them posed among flowers.
With love to you and Adri and Kia from Margaret and Larry Root

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Ruth And Neil Cuadra published a tribute .

We are very sorry to learn of Toby's passing. She always had a welcoming smile for us during family visits to Los Angeles and we enjoyed catching up a bit through holiday cards. Our condolences to Siri, Adri, Kia, and their families. May her memory be a blessing.

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Gabriela White published a tribute .

To Kia, and the entire family, I send my deepest condolences in this moment of loss. I wish that you all may find some comfort and healing in knowing what an accomplished and memorable life Toby led. It is so clear from this heartfelt tribute and the many comments that Toby was so deeply admired and loved. She may not have been a fan of the silly trouble we would find ourselves in during our high school years, but she herself knew exactly how to engage in the kind of “good trouble” in her field of work that was necessary to make positive changes for social justice. Although it’s been so many years since seeing her, I always looked up to her. Sending you all my deepest sympathies, and please know that her legacy will live on through each of you, and through those sweet grand babies. All my love!

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Susan Gelman published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Adri, and Kia,
What a terrible loss. Please accept our deepest condolences at this difficult time. We will miss Toby greatly.
Love,
Susan and Bruce

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Johannes Keller published a tribute .

Dear Siri,
when I received the devestating message that Toby passed away, I was so deeply touched and felt such a strong sadness that my mind was kind of frozen. Toby was an outstanding person. I am very grateful that I got to know her (and you) during my time at Ann Arbor. She will always have a place in my heart.

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Mano Venkatraman published a tribute .

My heart and thoughts are with Siri and Toby's family as they go through this terrible loss. I was so lucky to have had Toby and Siri over for lunch here in Seattle not too long ago. A beautiful soul. I will miss her greatly. Heartfelt condolences to Siri and family.

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Frances Aparicio published a comment .

To Siri and Kia, deeply saddened about Tobi’s passing. I have fond memories of our parenting networks and mutual support when Kia, Gaby and Morgan were in high school. Tobi always inspired me to speak the truth and to continue our activism. Sending a warm hug to you and your family.

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Ratnesh Nagda published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Kia and Adri,

I am so so sorry to hear of Toby’s passing away. My sincere condolences to you. I always appreciated Toby’s warm welcomes, sharing lively conversations, deep personal and intellectual curiosity, and an appreciation for good cooking and dining. It was always so nice to visit with you on my trips to Ann Arbor and to have hosted you in Seattle. And I always remember how excited she was to talk about and share Siri’s photography.

Siri, you have been my mentor and friend for so many years. I deeply admire how you accompanied Toby with love and dignity, especially over the last few years. I know she was blessed to have shared the joys of grandparenting with you as well.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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Elizabeth Anderson published a tribute .

Dear Siri and family,
My thoughts go out to you at this difficult time. I learned so much from her when we collaborated long ago. I will always remember Toby as a wonderful colleague wholeheartedly dedicated to justice and human understanding, inside the academy and out.

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Elizabeth Petty published a tribute .

Toby touched so many people with her wisdom, passion, integrity, grace, curiosity, generosity, beauty, and love. I am forever grateful for her incredible mentorship and unconditional friendship. She inspired me to think more deeply, to love more fiercely, and to act more boldly. She challenged me to become my better self. She influenced my career, supported me through difficult decisions, and helped me celebrate many joyous moments. She was such a compassionate and caring woman who sought, saw, and championed the best in all those around her. She arrived to make this world a better place.

Working closely with Toby over a decade inspired me to follow my convictions more closely and to work harder for impactful change. Toby’s tireless passion for justice, equity, understanding, inclusion, and truth was both admirable and invigorating. Her quick wit, wickedly insightful humor, perfectly pointed political perspectives, and warm contagious laughter were delightfully refreshing. I don’t know why or how Toby chose me to be part of her research team and circle of colleagues and friends, but I will be forever grateful that she did. I feel so very fortunate that I had the opportunity to interact closely and work with Toby for so many years.

I am so saddened by Toby’s premature death and the illness she had to endure that proceeded it. Last time we talked we shared ideas about things we could do when she felt better. She talked about the things she wanted to do with her family.

This world has lost a truly amazing person. As I have reflected on her loss and feel the deep aching hole it leaves in my heart now, I also feel a calling to embrace the ideas Toby and I discussed over the years and to work harder to help those ideas become a reality. Toby’s beauty and words will linger long in my thoughts and will continue to inspire me.

My heart goes out to Siri, Kia, Adri and their families. I am so very sorry for their loss. Family meant the world to Toby. Her love and admiration for her family was unparalleled. She always spoke of her children with such tenderness and pride as they navigated their paths to adulthood. And I don’t recall any conversation with Toby where she didn’t say something loving about a family member.

And to you, Siri, I send you heartfelt virtual hugs of support. I hope that Toby’s love that dwells deep within your heart will always bring your comfort and that your fond memories of her and your many amazing adventures together will bring you smiles amid the tears. Know that I hold you and your family in my heart and thoughts.

And Toby, I hope that somehow and somewhere you will always know how very dear you were to me, how much I admired you, and how deeply I cared about you. With loving gratitude and deepest appreciation, thank you , Toby, for enriching my life through yours. I miss you and wish you whatever awesomeness there is beyond the earth.

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Tom Powell published a tribute .

Dear Siri and family,
My sincere condolences for your loss. I hope memories of the loving care you provided to Toby will be some consolation for this profound loss.

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Lydia & Roland published a tribute .

Roalnd and I are very sorry to hear Toby's passing. I remember many years ago when we overstayed in their house after a party, Siri showed me how to play games on an ipad and Toby taught me how to annotate articles using the device. Toby was warm, friendly, and gentle. She will be missed.

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Diane & Amiram Vinokur published a tribute .

What sad, sad news! Amiram & I send our deepest sympathies to Siri, Adri, Kia and their spouses and children. Toby was a special person. The first time I saw her was about 50 years ago at ISR, when I got off the elevator. She didn't know me and she washolding IBM punch cards that she was focused on submitting. Yet, there was a calm about her and a warm smile for others she greeted. When I later discovered that she was with Siri, my fellow grad student, I thought what a lovely couple, with never a raised voice between them! Since Siri and I worked together at the School of Social Work, I got to hear about her over the years. I am grateful we got to know each other somewhat better in this last decade at dinners together and was always impressed with her continuing energy and her intense dedication to both her work and her family.
My heart goes out to all the family, but especially to Siri, for he and Toby had such a deep and special relationship of love and devotion for so many years together. We will miss her, but we also feel so lucky to have been blessed with knowing her and witnessing her compassion and her dedication to her family and friends, and the important causes in which she believed.

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Abby Stewart published a tribute .

Like so many others, I am saddened by this news, and send warmest wishes to Siri, Adri and Kia. Toby's life was one filled with passion and meaning, and with great love from and for you all. She left a wonderful legacy in her friendships, her work and most of all in all of you.
Love, Abby

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Jon Matsuoka published a tribute .

The Matsuoka `Ohana sends their condolences to the Jayaratnes. Toby was a kind and curious person who always expressed an interest in people and offered compassion. Toby and Siri's visit to Hawai`i several years ago always stands out for us and we're so glad we had that time together. Aloha, Jon

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Sherrie Kossoudji published a tribute .

May her memory be eternal.

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Linda Frankel And Lewis Margolis published a tribute .

Such devastating news! I had been thinking about Toby recently, especially during these trying times. Lew and I were so happy to be able to see Toby and Siri when we visited Ann Arbor for Gregory's law school graduation and prior to that when they stopped in Chapel Hill on the way to Florida. Although we had left Ann Arbor several years prior, we always felt bonded by shared memories as neighbors, colleagues (RC), and friends. We send our love to Siri, Adri and Kia and their families. So happy that Toby experienced grandparenthood. We will miss her warm and caring soul.

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Liz Mazur published a tribute .

Toby was a warm and supportive presence during graduate school at UM. She had a wonderful laugh that always helped you feel better and gave you a clearer, more adaptive perspective on things. She knew what was important in life and lived her life accordingly both in her personal life and in her career.

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Lorraine Gutierrez published a tribute .

I am so sad to her this. Toby had a wonderful mind and a wonderful soul. She has left the world a much better place because of her scholarship, passion and commitments. My true condolences to Siri and the family.

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Charles Garvin published a comment .

I wish to tell the Jayaratne family how sad I am for them toby was a beautiful person in all respects. Kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and always thinking of others.

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Eileen & Roy published a comment .

Roy and I are grieving with your family as we remember your beloved wife and mother, Toby. Toby was always so kind and welcoming to us, both before and after my sister, Esther, married Adri.

Even though we are the family of her daughter-in-law, she opened her heart and her home to us. We still think fondly of a couple of great Thanksgivings we shared. And over the years, she has kept in touch—through our many moves and even the birth of our daughter. It truly feels like we have lost a member of our family. We are deeply saddened at Toby’s passing but so grateful for the time we spent together.

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Larry M. Gant published a comment .

my best thoughts and wishes to the Jayaratne family. Siri was one of my principal mentors as a doctoral student; he and toby opened his home to me and many other students over the years as a place for support, good meals, and countless hours playing with the trains in the basement. toby was a constant source of ideas, support, and fighting spirit. she will be loved, cherished and remembered by many.

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Shaskia Ratnayake published a tribute .

My deepest sympathies for your loss.
Love,
Shaskia Ratnayake

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Shaskia published a comment .

I did not know Toby Achi well, but I will cherish the few memories I have with her.

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Bruce Rosen published a tribute .

"The seeker who sets out upon the way shines brightly over the world. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine!" (Gautama Buddha)
Thinking of you and remembering Toby: a bright light.
Love to Siri, Kia, Adri and kids.

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Joe Himle published a tribute .

Very sorry to hear of the loss of your Toby. Such a kind, thoughtful and talented person. The entire Himle family sends its heartfelt condolences during this most difficult time.

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Celia And Bob Morris published a comment .

What a very sad day this is. This past year must have been so difficult, especially because Tobi and Siri were so thrilled to have grandchildren to visit. Our friendship began when we were all "stranded" in Oklahoma and we gravitated to each other as kindred souls, fish out of water. Bob and I have great memories, in the years since then, when our lives occasionally overlapped, for instance, when we snuck away from family when we visited in Ann Arbor and more recently were able to catch up when they were visiting Kia in Newton. We easily took up as if years hadn't sometimes passed between our reunions. Our deepest condolences to Siri, Kia, Adri, spouses and grandbabies, as well as Marsha (with whom we overlapped at Reed).

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Jane Sheldon published a tribute .

I’m so deeply saddened to hear this news. I first met Toby in the 1980s at University of Michigan, when I was trying to decide whether to attend the Developmental Psychology PhD program. Toby and Siri graciously opened their home, inviting me, a stranger, to stay overnight even though they were busy tending to the newest addition to their family (baby Kia). This was my first glimpse of Toby’s ever-present generosity. When I then joined the Psychology department, Toby was a continual, enthusiastic, supportive presence, whether helping me negotiate graduate school hurdles, mentoring me in my first teaching assistantship, inviting me to wonderful gatherings at her and Siri’s home, or supportively waiting nearby with my husband as I conducted my dissertation defense. Later, Toby generously invited me to join her research team at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Her excitement about research and scholarship was infectious, and all of us who worked with her benefited from her expertise, passion, and insights. Her commitment to sociopolitical research and social justice issues was only surpassed by her devotion to her family. My heartfelt condolences to Siri, Adri, Kia, and family.

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Jon Kidd published a tribute .

Dear Mr. Jayaratne, Adri, Kia, and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. I met Mrs. Jayaratne 25 years ago when I was a first time UM Resident Advisor with the unfortunate luck of having a plucky freshman named Adri as my neighbor. Lol. What I won’t ever forget is the sparkle she always had in her eyes and her giving spirit which reaffirmed for me as a young activist that a life dedicated to service is a beautiful one to live. I wish I could be present in your time of bereavement, alas, I will be donating to the Brennan Center for Justice in her name.

Much Love,
Jon

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Letha Chadiha published a tribute .

Dear Siri, Kia, Adri and your families:
I am deeply grieved after hearing of Toby’s passing, a dear friend and colleague. We met during my early years at the UM in the late 1960s. I will always remember Toby, as her biography states so eloquently—a “proud feminist and advocate for the voiceless.” I send you and your families my heartfelt condolences. Our world is a better place for having Toby in it.

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Gabriel Sandler published a tribute .

Toby treated others with warmth and sincerity and was a wonderful presence in our lives. My deepest condolences to Siri, Adri, Kia, extended family, and friends.

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Carol Tavris published a tribute .

I was so shocked and saddened to learn of Toby's death; I had no idea she had been battling that illness for so long. What a sweetheart she was--so funny, so wise, so very dear. We met in Ann Arbor in graduate school, hundreds of years ago, and her research help on surveys was undoubtedly the reason I got my Ph.D. She was a "beautiful spirit" indeed, as Marilyn just noted--uplifting, adorable, inspiring. Our mothers were good friends and loved to share notes on their daughters' adventures. "Dorothy!" Toby's mom exclaimed to mine, "how could you let Carol go to college across the country, so far from Los Angeles? She might meet a man from ANOTHER COUNTRY!" Toby's choice was the best, of course. Dear Siri, my heart goes out to you and your children, and I send you deepest condolences and embraces.

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Cindy Mark And Todd Griffin published a comment .

Todd and I are so sad to hear of Toby’s passing. We had so many years of being next door neighbors and always enjoyed Tobi’s enthusiasm and kindness. Our years on St. Francis were brightened by having such wonderful neighbors. We will always remember Toby’s smile.. Please let us know if a memorial for Toby is being planned when things are safe. Our deepest condolences to Siri, Kia and Adri and their families. We are glad Toby got to enjoy her grandchildren. Thinking of you all.

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Kaz And Shoko Kato published a tribute .

We are deeply shocked and sadden to know Toby’s passing. We would like to extend our heartfeltly sincere condolence to Siri, Adri, and Kia. We are always treasuring the happy memories of staying at your home, being with you and having good and pleasant talks in Ann Arbor, as well as travelling to Nagasaki and Yoshinogari Historical Park (Saga) together.

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Sheila Feld published a tribute .

Dear Siri, I was very saddened to hear of Toby's passing.. I thought of both of you whenever someone gave me a ride and we passed your hour. I often regretted that the covid situation prevented me from asking if a visit from me was possible.

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Marilyn A Martin published a tribute .

Toby had a beautiful spirit, lived a life of public service, and inspired her family, students and friends to follow in her footsteps and continue to support women's rights and justice for the oppressed and disenfranchised. RIP Toby. - Marilyn Martin (2nd cousin)

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Shahid published a comment .

She had the nicest and kind personality.

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Sheila Feld published a comment .

Dear Siri, I was so sorry to hear about Toby. I thought of both of you often when someone was giving me a ride and down our street and regretted that the covid situation prevented me from seeing if a visit was possible. I have many fond memories of our times together here in Ann Arbor and years past in
. Florida.. Fondly, Sheila

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Herb And Roz Rosenbluth published a tribute .

Herb and I are deeply saddened by Toby’s passing. From our first meeting with her prior to our families uniting through marriage, we bonded warmly. We would have dearly loved being able to share more time and interests together, but geographic distance was against us. The memories we have of Toby’s many talents are with us. Our sincere condolences to Siri and of course to Adri and Kia.

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Edith Lewis published a tribute .

I want to express my condolences to the Jayaratne family - particularly to my dear colleague Siri - on Toby’s death. Toby was a wonderful scholar, with a bright and beautiful personality. She made many contributions to many disciplines, influenced the lives of countless students and was a compassionate colleague to those who had the good fortunate to know and work with her. I will always remember her smile, and the sparkle in her eyes when she spoke of her family members across generations. We were all graced by her presence, and it has been an honor to know her. Blessings and gratitude for a life well lived.

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Alicia Carmichael published a tribute .

Doug and I are deeply saddened to hear this news. Toby meant so much to all her students as a mentor and role model. She touched many lives through her training and scholarship, but also through her kindness and convictions.

I will miss Toby's phone call updates about work and family very much. It was clear from these calls that she was so proud of her children and adored her grandchildren. Our thoughts are with Siri and the family.

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Ann Alvarez published a tribute .

Tony and I - and our kids - are so very sorry to hear this. The life description here is beautiful, like Toby. In addition to my kids, Toby was my favorite marching buddy. She truly lived her convictions, and I will miss her lively and engaged spirit. We are thinking about Siri and the whole family during this time...sending love.

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Michael Akiyama published a tribute .

Michael Akiyama
Toby and Siri are very long time friends from Oklahoma. We traveled together in Japan. In Michigan we are together on campus. I miss Toby very much. Some day I wish to talk with Siri and Kia to celebrate her life.

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Jane Rockwood published a tribute .

We are deeply saddened by the death of our lifelong friend, Toby.
In 1971, Toby and Siri were our first next door neighbors. We shared informal dinners, food co-op forays, surprise birthday parties, Thanksgiving celebrations, and bird watching excursions.
When we had to leave Ann Arbor, Jane wondered if she would ever find a friend as good as Toby.
Although separated by ½ a country, as the years went by, we continued (with Toby’s organization) to see each other for car camping in Washington State, a trip to the North Carolina Outer Banks (shortly after the birth of our babies, Adri and Rebecca – 17 days apart) and reunions in Washington, DC, Virginia and Ann Arbor.
We will forever remember Toby’s cheerful disposition, intelligence, and altruistic outlook.
We couldn’t have had a better friend than Toby.

Jane and Larry Rockwood

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Kevin & Diane Coughlan published a tribute .

Sharing in your sadness as we remember Toby.
We’ll miss her gentle nature and positive outlook .
Her legacy will live on through her children and grandchildren.

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Elinor Gordon published a tribute .

I have known Toby since we were both 10. Though we rarely lived near each other, we remained close friends for all these many years. Mark and I will miss her profoundly. There is a hole in my heart. Love to Siri, Adri, Kia and their families. Toby led an exemplary life.

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