Grandaddy Singing to Us

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 16th March 2019

I will always remember Grandaddy singing to us. In the living room, with one of us on his lap, he would often sing a song called Oyfn Pripet shik/At the fireplace. Here is a video of him singing this song to Brooklyn. Lyrics below. 

"A flame burns in the fireplace, the room is warming up, as the teacher drills the children in the Hebrew alphabet (alef-beyz): Remember dear children, what you are learning here. Repeat it over and over. When you grow older you will understand that this alphabet contains the tears and weeping of our people. When you grow old and weary you will find comfort and strength in these letters."

From Phil Bowman

Shared by Phillip Bowman on 5th February 2019

I love Jerry Gurin – he was a true mentor with compelling intellect and strong indignation for racial injustice! Jerry’s pivotal role in my own life started when I was only 22 years old and some of my fond memories are shared in the reflections by Thomas Gordon, James Jackson, Belinda Tucker, Vonnie McLoyd, Harold Fairchild, Harold Neighbors, Ron Brown, and Marv Peterson…. In Fall 1970, I was first introduced to Jerry and Pat by their colleague and friend Daniel Katz after he read my research paper for his Advanced Social Psychology class – and these three are the major reason I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology at Michigan. As a mentor, Jerry became my challenging teacher (2 courses), role model (ISR-research scientist and CSHPE professor), career coach, and most important extended family member.

Jerry was like a wise, supportive, father-figure to James Jackson, Belinda Tucker, and I – as he empowered us to envision and specialize in the impossible as we developed the ISR-based National Survey of Black Americans and Program for Research on Black Americans. As extended family and neighbors, we also co-parented our children (PJ, DuBois, Becky, Jennifer) during elementary school and grandchildren (Chloe & Akilah) in day-care. As a true Jewish intellectual, Jerry personified the ancient values of MAAT – truth, justice, righteousness, balance, reciprocity, and propriety. It is my true blessing to have known Jerry and a true inspiration to see him "thrive" until 96 – with Pat’s enduring love and grace. To Jerry’s enduring spirit – “I am because you are”….

Phillip Bowman, Professor of Higher Education, Faculty Associate, ISR-Program for Research on Black Americans, Director, Diversity Research and Policy Program, University of Michigan

Jerry's Speech at Liz & Paul's Wedding

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 4th February 2019

Here are the words that Jerry spoke at the wedding of Elizabeth Levey (Jerry's great-niece) and Paul Stroka. They convey three important aspects of Jerry’s life: his strong commitment to family as a central Jewish value, the importance of commitment, and the impact of being part of an immigrant family.It refers to The Little Prince, a section of which Elizabeth and Paul had read at the ceremony.

As stated so beautifully in the first and second readings, the foundation of marriage lies in the commitment that two people make to each other. The commitment is what another GIVES TO YOU when you face dark times – someone to lift you up when you fail – someone to warm and comfort you when you are cold.

Even more important is the commitment that YOU GIVE to your rose – the special love and meaning that you find in life by tending, nurturing, and being responsible for another.

Beyond marriage, commitment is also the foundation of ties that we form as members of the broader family that marriages are part of.In Jewish history and tradition, the family has been the focal institution for transmitting Judaism’s basic norms and values, and for the continuity of Jewish life over the centuries.

I am the uncle of Elizabeth’s father, Mark, and the oldest of the Gurin-Levey-Ross family present here today. My mother and father were immigrants who came to America in their twenties.Some of the happiest memories of my childhood are the gatherings we had with other members of my mother’s and father’s European family – the uncles and aunts who had also migrated to New York, and their children, my cousins, who were born in America.We were an immigrant family, huddled together in small New York apartments.The family gatherings were joyous occasions as we kissed and ate and shared our lives, assured that each of us was tended, as was the Little Prince’s rose.

The commitment of two people in a marriage ends when the two people are gone.But commitment in the family lasts over the generations.The family provides continuity of the commitment. Our family gatherings now involve four generations.We have gone forth from the New York apartments and spread throughout the breadth of America.

We have moved from people with the same Jewish heritage to family sharing many different heritages, all with a common ethic and ideals that have shaped the American experience.We have remained bonded and committed through family reunions and celebrations of holidays and through both sad and happy family events, like the one that brings us here today.

While my family’s history differs from others in its details, it is not an unusual American story.Paul also comes from a family that has remained remarkably close despite some members having dispersed at times from their original roots in Chicago – not New York.

So it is very fitting that our family gathers here today to celebrate a wedding in a land very far from where we started, a wedding within our broader families symbolized by commitment and continuity.

From Rhea Kish

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 4th February 2019

We have lost a person of sterling character. A faithful, caring friend, always ready to help you. Devoted to his family through its travails. Concerned about world problems and the fate of mankind. Never unkind or petty, and supportive of justice for all. We will miss his spirit and caring. I am so grateful for his friendship all these many years, and will miss all our wonderful times together.

Rhea Kish, long-term friend

Shared by Meenu Sidhar on 30th January 2019

We feel so fortunate to know Jerry. Although we didn’t get to spend much time with him.He taught us so much. He was very peaceful and loving person.He had such a positive attitude and selfless love for everyone. Jerry led an honorable life and was so kind to everyoneOur heartfelt condolences to Pat and the whole family. Our prayers are with all of you. We would end with this quote by Peyton Conway March which is a befitting tribute to Jerry:  “ There is wonderful mythical law of nature which states that the three things we crave most in life- happiness, freedom and peace of mind- are always attained by giving them to someone else. “ 

My GrandDAD

Shared by Bryan Dameron on 29th January 2019

Nothing I say can accurately express the importance you’ve had on my life granddad. You taught me so much both directly and indirectly. You we’re the only constant father figure in my life and showed me how to love, care and be patient with not only people but with life. I will forever cherish the memories we made: you teaching me math, how to drive, how to tie a tie and how to love Michigan Football (just to name a few) . I will never forget our drives to school listening to Mojo In The Morning especially war of the roses (you thought it was so off the wall but since I loved it you decided to put your feelings to the side and enjoy it as well).  I can not remember a time I couldn’t count on you. If it was in your power to be there or do it there you were.  I watched how you interacted  with grandma and it showed me how to be when I too find the woman of my dreams.  I paid attention to your acceptance and patience when interacting with our family and it showed me how to act when I have a family.  I remember our conversations about life and how you always reminded me “If I could get my shit together and figure out how to live life, you can tooBryan”. You believed in me more than I did myself granddad. You loved me more than I did myself.  I love you so much and will appreciate and miss you forever.

From Elena Ross

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Uncle Jerry had an incredible influence on my development as a person. His presence in Ann Arbor provided me comfort throughout those years. The words, stories, and affirmation I received from Uncle Jerry - most especially when Pat and Jerry invited me over after I had been targeted by the Jewish community on campus for my support of the Palestinian students - illuminated such a special and rare side of both of them, to which I will always aspire. There are no words to describe how much the support meant to me.

Uncle Jerry had a rare and beautiful spark in him that I will forever remember. His voice, his disposition, his generous heart, and his love of learning will never be forgotten. His stories will live on, and his demonstration of what it truly means to be a family will continue to strengthen all of us.

Elena Ross, Jerry's great-niece

From Woody Neighbors

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

I am tremendously honored to have had the good fortune to have known and to have been mentored by Jerry early in my graduate career -- a time when I needed so badly the intellectual guidance that he provided. More than that however, was Jerry's infectiously POSITIVE attitude toward the work he and I were doing ("Section F!"), the reading and thinking I was doing on how to study help-seeking, and toward life. My memories of Jerry always include him having a good laugh -- he kept everything upbeat and, at least for me, kept me motivated and feeling tremendously hopeful. When I was around Jerry, I had no self-doubt! I came away thinking, "I can do it!" What a gift he gave me. I've tried my best to emulate that kind of encouragement with students I've known over the years.

Jerry was the lead author on THE classic, "Americans View Their Mental Health." I cannot think of any other book I read as often as that book. It represented a significant paradigm shift in the way the field thought about mental health and the application of survey research methods to self-assessment, coping, and behavioral response. I will always cherish my signed copy.

Harold “Woody” Neighbors, C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, Michigan State University

From Larry Bobo

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Though my interactions with him were few, Jerry was one of those figures from my time at Michigan who was an inspiring example and made me feel quite fortunate to be a student among such scholarly giants who were still good human beings. 

Lawrence Bobo, Dean of Social Science at Harvard University

From Nora Stephens

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Jerry was always such a warm, thoughtful, caring, and inquisitive person. I remember him asking me such smart questions about my beliefs. Every time he told me Papa [Leslie Kish] would be proud, it made me beam. I also had a soft spot for his New York Jewish accent - I can hear it so clearly now. The family of Pat and Jerry is so special - it says so much about each of them as individuals and as partners.

Nora Stephens, family friend and granddaughter of Rhea and Leslie Kish

From Sylvia Hurtado

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Jerry was well-loved and well-lived. I recall how he savored the steak at the steakhouse in town when we celebrated the Supreme Court win in 2003. Although I didn't see him near the end of his life, I am sure he knew he was loved from Pat, the children, grandchildren, and the many former students he mentored. My heart goes out to you and your family. His commitment to social justice revitalized us all lives on in all of us.

Sylvia Hurtado, Professor of Education, UCLA 

From Hal Fairchild

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

I cherish every memory I have of both Pat and Jerry.  It was Pat and Jerry who opened their home to the cadre of African American students at The U of M. The two of them were the guiding lights for students of color. Their marriage reflected a bond that was and is a model for all couples. Jerry was a magnificent orator. I remember so well his talk at his 90th birthday party where he praised social psychologists – and challenged us – for making a positive difference in the world. Jerry’s intellect and wit provided the foundation for social psychology’s continued involvement in pressing social issues. Jerry was a man of integrity and family.  I loved him.

Hal Fairchild, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Africana Studies at Pitzer College

From Mark Chesler

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Gerry was a mensch in the best sense, geographically New York, intellectually formidable and humanly touchable. 

Mark Chesler, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Michigan

From Marv Peterson

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

I am one of the CSHE's early graduates who benefited from Jerry's guidance and friendship, first as a graduate student then  as a faculty colleague. In addition to all his personal guidance, insights into the world of academe, and his friendship and good advice, I still remember all of the wonderful times that he and Pat hosted us at their home. Both of them have had a generous and caring perspective that so many of us have benefited from.

Marvin Peterson, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, University of Michigan; former Director, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education

From Jeff Ross

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

I know he was a brilliant scholar, professor and mentor to so many but, to me, he was always – and will always be – just a wonderful, kind and generous uncle: always interested, always supportive, always engaged. It is difficult to imagine the family without him.

Jeff Ross, Jerry's Nephew

From Jim & Wendy House

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

Jerry was a very special man to us, ISR, U of M, and the wider world. Jerry was a true founder and leader in developing interdisciplinary social science in the public interest and for social justice in all of these venues. As much as anyone, Jerry was also responsible for our returning to Ann Arbor in 1978, based on his review of my first federal grant proposal to NIMH, and a supporter to us, and so may others, ever since. And perhaps most important of all, he was simply the epitome of a "mensch" in all the best senses of the term. We will forever miss his effervescent positive presence in our lives. 

Pat and Jerry had a very special personal and professional relationship for as long as we have known them, since our graduate school days. We hope and trust that your fond and loving memories of Jerry, the knowledge that they are so widely shared, and the support of all your friends and family in Ann Arbor and beyond will gradually ease the bittersweet pain of loss that comes with the end of such special relationships.
Jim House, Angus Campbell Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Survey Research, Public Policy, and Sociology; University of Michigan

From Terrence McDonald

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 28th January 2019

In my every encounter with him Jerry was one of the sweetest men on earth and his impact on the campus was gigantic in every arena in which he worked. Much of what we think of today as “DEI” was pioneered by Pat and him, certainly on the research front.

Terrence McDonald, Professor of History and Director; Former Dean of LS&A, University of Michigan

Remembering Jerry: From his niece Elisa Ross

Shared by Joel Gurin on 26th January 2019

Jerry was a wonderful, wonderful human being and I can only imagine what it was like having him for a grandfather, grandfather-in-law, father, father-in-law and husband.

He was also a wonderful uncle-in-law. My favorite uncle, in fact! I loved him so much! 

I’d like to give you some examples of how great he was to me, and why I will never forget him, his kindness, his sense of humor, his graciousness.

When I was early, early in the family, and not at all official, Jerry and Pat and Jenny opened their home to me, to stay for a few weeks while I found an apartment in Ann Arbor. They fed me with food and also with family stories. They talked with and listened to me like I actually mattered. I felt so grown up at age 23, and yet so cared for. Cocktail Hour was a thing and Jerry always offered to pour me a strong one! So appreciated as I tried to figure out my future!

They accepted our engagement happily and threw a party in our honor for our med school friends. Always the host, I have lots of pix of Jerry chatting up all these future docs in that impossibly glamorous castle-house.

Fast forward to family reunions with his artfully told stories of the old days. More Happy Hour chats. More love.

At Passover, we would look forward to hearing his sonorous voice leading us out of Egypt. And when Elena had her baby naming, he willingly participated in the readings and lent his observations, which, as usual, were articulate and insightful. Their special relationship grew and she interviewed him for her family history/World War II project. 

And how he took care of her when she went to Michigan! They had lunch by themselves often, and he and Pat were excellent sounding boards as Elena figured out her future and her social justice values. But that’s her story and I’ll let her tell it. Just to say that when someone loves your kid, you love them all the more.

I was also grateful to Jerry for his steadfast friendship with Gloria through the years, especially meaningful to her after Art’s death. Again, he loved those that I loved, so the love just grew. And him encouraging her to go to Israel was critical to our having an amazing family trip and connecting with more family. So grateful.

I just think of him always there, a kind, loving, happy presence. And he’ll always be that for me. He is forever in my heart and I will miss him.

(I've included a short clip of Jerry laughing in the 50’s. there’s no sound, but you KNOW what it sounds like!)

From Lester Monts

Shared by Chloe Gurin-Sands on 26th January 2019

When I came to Michigan in 1993, OAMI was in the midst of the Michigan Student Study.  Although good people were working on the Study and progress was being made, questions were circulating in administration about its reliability. When Jerry began working with John Matlock and others, that all changed. Jerry’s participation in the Study raised its importance and it went on to be critical data in the Supreme Court cases [for Affirmative Action].

Jerry was such a fun-loving person, and we all appreciated his wry sense of humor. I will always remember when OAMI celebrated John's 25th year anniversary and Jerry came dressed in the jogging suit that John was wearing when he was arrested at the CCRB in 1995.  That was hilarious!

I will always remember Jerry’s dedication to “the cause” and how he went about with a conviction to do the right thing.  I will never forget the power of his deep baritone voice. I will never forget how he was able to put pressing issues into their proper perspective.  And, now that I’m a grandfather, I will never forget his love for his children and grandchildren, a trait I will strive to to emulate.

Lester Monts, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music (ethnomusicology); Former Senior Vice Provost for academic affairs and senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity, and undergraduate affairs; University of Michigan. 

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