Balch, Janet P.

December 21, 1934 - August 31, 2019

Janet P. Balch passed away on August 31, 2019, after a long fight with dementia.

She was born Janet Philadelphia Parke on December 21, 1934 in Dorset, England, the youngest of 5 daughters. Her father Charles Parke passed away when she was less than 2 years old; her mother Jean Hamilton Gordon Gardiner raised her daughters, taking them to live from 1940-1944 with relatives in Boston and Maine. Janet finished Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth in 1952. After working in London for Royal Copenhagen Porcelain, she emigrated in 1959 to Cambridge, Mass. where she was introduced to Frank Balch by Henry Kissinger when they were all at Harvard University. Frank and Janet were married December 15, 1962 in Old Lyme, Conn.

Janet and Frank moved to Dallas in 1966, when Frank joined the SMU Political Science faculty. (Frank retired as Professor Emeritus in 1996 and is still honored with the annual Balch Prize for International Studies; he passed away in 2002.) Janet joined the Southwestern Law Journal (now the SMU Law Review) in 1966, as an Editorial Assistant and then Editorial Advisor. In 1986, she started also working as Administrative Editor and then Executive Editor for the American Bar Association’s The International Lawyer. In these roles, Janet helped many lawyers get their law review articles published and improved the quality of both publications. Janet also served as the overall Publications Coordinator for the SMU School of Law (including editing The Brief, The Quad, and the School of Law Bulletin) from 1990 until she retired in 1996.

Janet enjoyed her role as a faculty wife, welcoming Frank’s students into their home, and was actively involved as a volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum and Dallas Public Library and later as an employee at the Dallas Museum of Art. Janet was proud to become a US citizen in 1967. Janet moved into the CC Young Senior Living Facility in 2011 where she lived and received excellent care until her death.

Janet is survived by her sister Isobel Parke (Epping, NH), nephew Mike Harlan (Louisville, KY), and sister-in-law Virginia Harlan (Cambridge, MA).

A Memorial Service to celebrate Janet’s life and vibrant spirit will be held on Wednesday, September 11, at 2:30 pm at the Parchman Chapel, on the second (top) floor of Lawther Point East at CC Young Senior Living, 4829 W. Lawther Drive, Dallas, TX  75214.

At her request, Janet is being cremated and her ashes will be scattered at a family site in New Hampshire, where she will be reunited with Frank.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in honor of Janet to one of the following:

CC Young/Employee Appreciation Fund
Dallas Arboretum
Save the Children Foundation

Please leave condolences and share memories on this website.

A Signature Service under the direction of:

Aria Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. Northwest Highway
Dallas, Texas 75238

7 replies on “Balch, Janet P.”

Prof. Joe Norton says:

Janet was the epitome of professionalism and unswerving high standards. I worked with (for) Janet on the transition of the International Lawyer to SMU. Her assistance and guidance were invaluable.

Louise King says:

I met Janet when she was working at SMU. A delightful woman with a delightful British accent, we were both volunteers for many years at the Dallas Museum of Art. She and Frank hosted marvelous Boxing Day Parties…now a treasured memory. After she retired several of her museum friends got together for lunch several times a year.
Sadly, we lost touch when her memory problems became severe. Though we inquired, we were never told how to get in touch with her after that.
I treasure having known Janet and am glad she is now at peace.

Myra Woodruff says:

I met Janet at the Fall Dance Concert. She attended regularly. She enjoyed seeing young dancers develop their own voice in movement. I looked forward to our discussions. I learned of her interest in native plants and her volunteer work at the Arboretum. She was lovely.

Bob Stack says:

I met Janet, and her husband, Frank, while I was attending SMU Law School in the early 1990s. I first met Frank in the hall, and found him charming, and with a great wit. When I joined The International Lawyer law review, the 3L students told us not to miss a deadline, because you don’t want to have to answer to Janet! Well, the next year I did answer to Janet, as her Managing Editor. I learned exactly what she wanted, and when she wanted it. After SMU, my wife and I were periodic visitors with the Balches, and loved all of their stories, and shared in their laughs. These two professionals from SMU have finished their work on earth, and we all benefited from their knowledge, care, and dedication. I will try to reflect the values I found in Janet and Frank Balch.

Kelley Heide Martin says:

I met Janet in law school at SMU during my tenure on The International Lawyer. She was terrifically helpful to me and I enjoyed her company so much. After law school, Janet and I kept in touch and I treasured her friendship. When I married Chris, Janet became our friend, not just my friend. We would meet at La Madeline for lunch and share our travel adventures and enjoy our time together. Janet was a great wit and a kind and caring person that I was blessed to call my friend. Our world is dimmer without her in it.

Hank Lischer says:

Janet was an amazing professional and mentor to many students (and faculty) at SMU, where all who knew her remember her with great fondness.

David Haley says:

I had the honor of working closely with Janet as editor-in-chief of Southwestern Law Journal in 1985-86. She was the point of continuity at the law review as student editorial boards changed every year. Janet was patient and kind with the students and expert in her advice. We had the privilege of dedicating our final issue in 1986 in honor of her 20th anniversary at SMU. May God hold and keep her forever.

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