UMB Philosophy Professor Dies at 67

Caleb Nelson

Janet Farrell Smith, born in Madison, Wisconsin on July 7, 1941, passed away on the morning of January 8th after a long illness. She held a PhD from Columbia University, and as a professor in the Philosophy Department at UMB she taught Critical Thinking, Foundations of Philosophy, and Biomedical Ethics occasionally for the CCT program.

Her most recent areas of study included theories of justice in relation to property, privacy, and family policy; she also worked in bioethics, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of language. Most recently she published several articles on family and child welfare systems including “Ethical Conflict in the Transracial Adoption Debate: Three Conflicts Involving Community,” which was in Hypatia.

Loved and missed by UMB students and faculty alike-Dr. Smith’s friends and family gathered on January 10th at Brown Funeral Home in Belmont to share memories of her. A memorial service is planned for later this year.

“I miss her irreverence,” Janis Kapler, UMB Economics Department Chair, and friend of Dr. Smith said. “She had a way of making things funny-especially when people were trying to make themselves look good. I loved her wit and cynicism.”

She left behind three brothers, seven nieces and nephews, and her daughter, Julia Farrell Smith, who is graduating from college this spring, specializing in video game design.

Contributions in memory of Dr. Smith can be made to Tsog Dhog Foundation, supporting Buddhist activities (Hawley, MA 03339).