Saturday, February 15, 2014


M.J. Tocci 1953-2014
Memorial Celebration will be held Sunday April 6th at 10am at CMU.


  1. So many tears are being shed for you, M.J.--an incredibly proud and in love mum of Sam and Zoe, an amazing partner, loving sister, committed teacher, mentor, friend & life-force. You live on in each of us with colorful memories of your wit, smile, grace, style, smarts and in perpetuity through your Academy and your kid's kids and their kids.... Terry and I will be there to laugh, remember and say, '...until next we meet...', April 5th.

    1. Deborah, I have been so moved by your posts here over these past several weeks. I very much hope to meet you when you are in Pittsburgh in April. I sent a private message to your Facebook account with my contact info. Deepest condolences to you.

      Bonnie Pfister

  2. You know you are in the presence of greatness when you immediately feel brighter, stronger, smarter....just because a beautiful person has chosen to share her intelligence, grace, wisdom, laughter and kindness with you.

    I am thankful to have known MJ. She made the world a better, brighter place. She shined like a powerful light in so many lives. She is loved and will be truly missed.

    1. Lynn, I think you put your finger on a key element of the MJ Effect. I’ve been puzzling over what it is, exactly; that quality that (for me) meant wanting to be involved in anything she was doing.

      Sara Laschever has called it her “unparalleled talent for intimate connection.” When speaking with MJ, she emanated such confidence in the talents each of us possesses; she seemed to recognize them and call them out of the shadows, even when you didn’t feel so confident in those talents yourself.


  3. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Till we meet again, MJ, where all the woman are strong, have at least equal pay and opportunities. The first woman president will definitely happen now if mj has anything to do with it! Much love to all the family.

  4. Dear Jonathan, dear Sam, dear Zoe,
    My heart aches for you. I do hope you will find comfort in all these amazing stories of grace and warmth and wisdom that all of MJ's friends shared. I often wondered whether there is a Heaven. But now I am sure there is. There would be no other place fit for MJ, no meaning to this loss if it were not to make sure her beautiful soul and spirit are enjoying a Garden of Love and watching over us, always. Much love to J, S, and Z. XXXXX
    Marie Blandine

  5. Feature Obituary in Feb. 17th Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

  6. As I looked for MJ's obituary, I came across this blog. My sincere condolences to MJ's family and friends. I had the honor of caring for MJ the last week of her life. She was truly an amazing, beautiful woman! Despite her illness, MJ faced each moment with such courage and grace. Thank you for trusting your loved one in my care as I've been blessed by MJ more than words can say. ~Michelle, RN

  7. jonathan, sam and zoe - I am here for anything that you might need. please don't hesitate to reach out and call on me.

    There are so many things that are flooding my mind right now as I think constantly of your mom and have held her captive in my thoughts for several weeks. I have so many memories of us, so much that I learned, and so much that I just relished about being in her presence, especially with you and when we were all together.

    MJ died the same day my grandfather did many years ago of the same illness that my grandmother died from.

    I am mourning with you as is so many families and friends are but I am also excited to allow a flood of memories to come back to me over the next days, weeks and months as her spirit lives on with all of us.

    JR - also wrote you an email. do not hesitate to text or call.

  8. Remembering MJ:
    "The Friend We All Wanted to Have, the Woman We All Hoped to Be"

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  10. Jonathan, Sam, and Zoe,

    My heart is with you. I can bring dinner, take Mimsy for walks, or drive certain persons out to lunch in the Miata...

    Much love to all,