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Teresa M. Downing, PhD

Of Springfield, Ohio, 59, passed peacefully in the presence of her children on February 16, 2020 in Dayton, OH.  She was born January 1, 1961, in Springfield, OH.  She is survived by her mother Joyce (Downing) Adams, brother Freely “Bud” Downing, son JyoshuTsushima, and daughter Mariay Tsushima.  She was preceded in death by her second son, Georgie Tsushima, in 2015.

After earning an undergraduate degree from Wright State and University of Kentucky, she taught English in Okayama, Japan and met her children’s father, Masahiro Tsushima there.  They moved to Seattle, Washington in 1988, then Pullman, Washington in 1989, where Teresa obtained her PhD is sociology at Washington State University.  As a professor at Iowa State University and then at California Polytechnical State University, Teresa fought human trafficking in Iowa, taught her students social activism, and fought poverty in her community.

Teresa loved reading, singing, nature, and spending time with loved ones, but her greatest joy was in her children.  She took pride in their independence and pursuits.  A celebration of her life will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 3:00 PM at Vineyard Church of Northridge, 4650 Ridgewood Road East, Springfield, Ohio with Rev. Neil Haney officiating.  The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the celebration service.  The family will gather for a private inurnment at Ferncliff Cemetery and Arboretum.

Memorial contributions may be made to “She Is Safe” via their website at, by phone at (877) 552-1402 or by mail 11095 Houze Road, Ste 100, Roswell, GA 30076.  Ferncliff Funeral Home and Crematory of Springfield is handling the arrangements.  Online condolences may be made at



  • Tammy wilt Posted February 18, 2020 7:46 pm

    I’m so sorry for all of you.. This is a great loss!! My prayers are for the whole family during this difficult time. Praying for comfort & peace.. Lots of fond memories back in the day!! She will surely be missed.. 🙏🏻❤️

  • Chris Posted February 19, 2020 11:59 am

    She was and is still is with us since the soul was attached to the body and soul is universal. My dad died on Jan 28 and was buried on Feb 6 but sing psalms for the soul is what I do to help in transition. Yahweh, our Father know the time to be burn and the time to return: Blessed is the judge of Truth: BDE

  • Jean Goode Posted February 19, 2020 4:56 pm

    While I did not know your mother, I wanted to express my sympathy to you and your family. At this difficult time, I hope you are comforted by family and friends. You must be so proud of her and the causes she fought for. I am sure she will be missed by so many.

  • Carol Rains Mitchell Posted February 19, 2020 6:53 pm

    Dear Joyce and Bud , and to Terry’ s precious husband and children, when I think of Teresa I think of her stellar smile and bright and loving spirit ; which she got from You, Joyce !
    My prayers for comfort in this time of separation and heartbreak . So many great memories going to church together with the Youngs !!! Singing in youth church choir , sledding , laughing and snickering and snorting with Terry and Karen Young ! So blessed are we to have shared such fun growing up together .
    She can shine bright now with that bubbling joy she always shared. I LOVE y’all. , Sincerely Carol Rains Mitchell 💔💖🙏

  • Shela Mihaly Posted February 20, 2020 8:03 am

    My heart aches for you and your family at this time. I am so sorry for your loss. I remember the
    vibrant teenager,, one who went on to achieve so much in her life. I am praying God will be of
    great comfort during this very sad time. My prayers will continue to be with you.

  • Karen Raymond Posted February 21, 2020 2:34 am

    I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Those of us from the pike will certainly send prayers to her family

  • T Dickinson Posted February 23, 2020 3:59 pm

    We will miss Teresa on campus and in the community. Whenever we spoke, I found her to be the kindest, most thoughtful person. She made us feel hopeful, inspired and appreciated. We extend our deepest sympathy.

  • Robert Schaeffer Posted February 23, 2020 4:06 pm

    Teresa was a wonderful colleague at Cal Poly. I enjoyed her warm company, thoughtful scholarship and teaching, and her serious engagement with difficult issues. She was a great teacher and I had the opportunity to observe her generous and caring work with students. Her passing is an great loss to our community, but we will remember her enormous contribution to the people here.

  • Florence Neymotin Posted March 25, 2020 8:25 am

    Teresa was my co-author and my friend. I am very sorry for the family’s loss, she was an amazing individual. I only wish I knew sooner so I could have expressed to them at the time. I loved having conversations with her where she would share her amazing thoughts and her world experience that far exceeded anyone else that I know. She gave me advice, support, and she was always kind. I hope she is with her son now because she missed him very dearly. All my love to the family.

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