Cover photo for Dr. Jackson Toby's Obituary
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Dr. Jackson Toby

September 10, 1925 — June 10, 2023

Dr. Jackson Toby was born in New York City on September 10, 1925. His early life was dominated by the two crises of the 20th Century, the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945). Jackson’s father, an immigrant from Morocco, went to law school in the US but his career was wrecked by the Depression and Jackson grew up poor. Shortly after graduating from one of the selective public high schools in New York, he was drafted into the Navy. (Those who have served recently, or been otherwise involved with the service, will be surprised that the Navy wasn’t always all-volunteer). He was sent to boot camp at Navy Pier in Chicago. After basic training there, he was selected for radio specialist training and learned radar technology. He was promoted to petty officer 3rd class and sent to Gulfport, Mississippi, where there was need of people to install radars onto ships.
This activity didn’t last long before disaster struck: he caught pneumonia. In this period there were few antibiotics, and he became very ill. He eventually recovered but his lungs were permanently damaged and he had a cough for the rest of his life. The Navy discharged him as no longer fit for duty, granting him a pension. When the war ended, he used the GI Bill to go to college and graduate school, earning several Master’s degrees and eventually a PhD from Harvard in 1951. He got an assistant professor’s position at Rutgers University, where he was to continue teaching for 52 years, outlasting the groundskeepers and janitors and becoming the longest serving employee of the university by the time he retired as a full professor with tenure, becoming a Professor Emeritus when he was in his 70’s.
He was a specialist in Criminology in the Sociology Department, director of the Institute of Criminological Research at Rutgers from 1969-1994. Later he focused more on undergraduate education and the causes and remedies for school violence. He published at least 5 books and over 100 articles, both scholarly and general interest such as op-ed pieces for newspapers. His most recent book, The Lowering of Higher Education in America, was published in 2010, when he was already well past 80 years old. It is unusual for an author to keep publishing when he’s that old.
He owes a lot to his wife of 44 years, Marcia L. Toby, an old fashioned mother and homemaker even though she also had academic credentials, who took over the home front as few women would do today. She died in 1997. He had two children, A. Steven, born in 1953, who survives him, and Gail A., born in 1954, who unfortunately also predeceased him in 2004. Steven had three children, Anna, who died in infancy, Catherine J. (2003-), and Elisabeth G. (2003-). While Jackson never remarried, as a widower he had a long term relationship with Miriam Lampen, a widow he met when they were both on the board of directors of a charity. She also predeceased him.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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