Remembering Janet Ellis

by Josh Ellis

Janet Koch Ellis passed away in her sleep early October 28, 2019.

Janet was born in New York City to Joseph and Ruth Koch. She grew up in Dallas, TX and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1947. Janet received a BFA from UT Austin, an MS in Speech Therapy & Audiology from SMU, and MS/PhD degrees in Psychology from the University of North Texas (UNT).

After a brief stint at KRLD radio Janet worked at Texas Instruments where she met her future husband of 55 years, Edward L. Ellis. Janet found her true calling as a founding member and eventually a tenured Professor of the Department of Behavior Analysis at UNT. For over 30 years she dedicated herself to the department and her students, and was instrumental in developing the BS and MS programs in Behavior Analysis.
Janet trained dozens of students in her lab focusing on functional analysis in public school settings. Many of those students have gone on to meaningful careers in numerous areas of practice. Her publications on the results of the lab’s work were among the first in the world on functional analysis in public school settings. She showed unwavering dedication to others, serving both her students and needy populations. She worked tirelessly to promote the discipline of Behavior Analysis in the U.S. and around the world, in part as a founding member and second president of the Texas Association of Behavior Analysis. Her career was a profound example of social awareness, generosity to others, hard work and commitment, the likes of which are rarely seen.

Janet is survived by her husband, Ed, of Denton, TX; sons David, Joshua (Margie), and Noah, sister Alice Tucker, four granddaughters, and several nieces and nephews.

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