Remembering a Beloved Teacher

Douglas Law 1960-2013

Longtime University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Douglas Law died unexpectedly Wednesday. He was 52.

In 1993, Law arrived at the UMKC School of Biological Sciences. He taught undergraduate- and graduate-level anatomy and histology — the study of the structure of cells and tissues in plants and animals — in lecture classes and labs. Students from various schools, including the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy, took his courses.

Law was working out at a gym Wednesday morning when he had a cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

UMKC students started mourning Law on social media the day of his death. Steven Philips wrote on Twitter: “I’m thankful I had the privilege of getting to know one of the best teachers at UMKC. Thank you for showing us what education is all about.”

“He was an incredibly popular teacher,” said Theodore White, Interim Dean of the School of Biological Sciences. “He seriously knew his subjects yet he had a light-hearted approach. Students sought out his classes.”

Law was an associate teaching professor and director of the Electron Microscopy Facility at the School of Biological Sciences. He was known at UMKC as an excellent microscopist and interacted with several different labs on campus to collaborate with colleagues and students in their research.

“I’ve worked on several projects where it couldn’t have been done without Doug and his expertise,” said Saul Honigberg, UMKC associate professor of cell biology and biophysics.  “He was always very thoughtful and logical.”

Honigberg was struck by what a proud father Law was. He participated in Girl Scouts activities with his daughter and lacrosse with his son.

Law received a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a doctoral degree in anatomy and cell biology, both from Duke University. Law was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Physiological Science at University of California at Los Angeles before he came to UMKC.

“The University mourns for the loss of one of its most respected faculty members,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton. “Our deepest sympathies go to Dr. Law’s family, his colleagues and the hundreds of students who have sought his teaching through the years.”

The loss of Law was sudden. Any student or faculty or staff member in need should contact the UMKC Counseling Center at 816-235-1635.

A wake will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. April 2 at Muehlebach Funeral Home, 6800 Troost Ave. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. April 3 at St. Peter’s Parish, 815 E. Meyer; respects can be paid starting at 9:30 a.m. A guest book can be signed at the UMKC School of Biological Sciences, 5007 Rockhill Road, Room 114, through April 5. Memorial contributions can be made to the UMKC Doug Law Memorial Fund, UMKC Office of Advancement, 5100 Rockhill Road, No. 229 AC, Kansas City, MO 64110.

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