- Celebration of Life Friday, September 7, 2018
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September 7, 2018
HG will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He was funny, extremely generous, and had an amazing artist eye. He once asked if I would help him wrap a painting he was giving as a gift. I went to the store picked out some paper and ribbon and returned the painting wrapped and ready to go. He was impressed with the wrapping and asked me if I had other artistic abilities as well. I mentioned that I used to love to draw and paint but hadn’t had time in years. He told me that time was a horrible excuse for not doing what you love and asked if I would I make time to attend a class if the Foundation paid for me to go. I agreed, and had the most amazing week soaking up the summer sun while reconnecting with my love for painting at The Art Barge. I came back and kept painting, most famously the painting of our crazy dog Cosmo, who Toby enjoyed teasing me about while I joked that he was going to go live with him instead. The painting was meant to be a comical ‘thank you’ gift, but Toby hung Cosmo’s portrait proudly in the real estate department for a long time before taking it home to live with him. The office has not been the same without him, and I will greatly miss his light-hearted teasing, his cans of Coke, and even asking “How’s my favorite secretary today?” with that charming grin that meant he was about to hand off a task that no one wanted to do (him especially). He had a certain finesse and class that was unlike any other, and it was a great pleasure to know and work with him. Rest easy, Mr. Griffis, may the view from above be more breathtaking than all the art galleries in the world.
Gretchen van der Lyke
September 6, 2018
Thank you for wonderful memories and kindness.
September 5, 2018
i got to know Toby twenty eight years ago. I was a graduate art student just came from China, and having my first one man exhibition in providence, RI. Toby came to the show and offered me an one year artist in residence program at the Griffis Art Center in New London. At that time it meant a lot to me. Thus I moved to NL, and Toby was my attorney when I bought my first house in 1993. We became friends.
In 2008 Toby invited me to join the American and Bulgarian Artists Exchange program. In 2012 Toby invited my daughter Xingxin who was an photographer and I to the same program again. I enjoyed both trips indeed.
Toby was a nice, smart and generous man, an art lover. His passing away is a huge lost to the Griffis Foundation and the art community. I, and I believe all of those who loved Toby will remember him for long, long time.
To Leda and Toby's family, I am deeply sorry for your lost. Please accept my condolence.
September 2, 2018
We know Toby as a friend and generous supporter of the arts.
Toby ran an exchange program for Bulgarian and American artists with Lyubomir Levchev. Shortly after we met him in 2007 Toby organized a month long artists residency for my wife Claudia and I at Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria. It was our first international residency and our first visit to Bulgaria. We had a wonderful time in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains and came to love Bulgaria through the people we met such as Leda and Kamen Starchevi, Lyubomir and Dora Levchevi and many others. After our visit he organized a dinner where we shared our experiences together. At his summer parties we often met the ever widening circle of creative people whose lives Toby enriched.
As a result of our connection to Toby and our new found love of Bulgaria we spent 9 months in Sofia in 2009 and I have been back numerous times to work on projects and visit with friends and fellow artists. The opportunity Toby afforded us reflects the generosity of his spirit that led to a very important chapter in our lives.
Our condolences go out to Leda, and Toby's family and friends.
September 2, 2018
Toby was a wonderful man I have worked with Toby for over 40 years and we became friends he was kind considerate and such a great person he will be greatly missed by all I am so sorry for your loss Bobbie kirchner