ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and colleague, Sheldon Krimsky. We invite you to share your memories on this website. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Nancy Olivieri on September 2, 2022
Dear Carolyn and Alyssa,

I wanted to write to convey my deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of Shelly. 

This has been delayed because I have been struggling to write it because it has been difficult to describe what Shelly meant to me (and I have undoubtedly failed here) - that is, what he meant not only personally because of his great warmth and interest in important ideals but also in the inspiring leadership and help in battles against the domination of industry influence in medicine and science,. He meant and still means so much to so many others engaged in those battles. 

I hope you don’t mind my presuming to do this, but Shelly has never been far from my thoughts since I learned the sad news, and I hope just to tell you what he meant not only to me, but to a community if scholars from whom I am sure you have heard similar expressions of loss. I don’t presume to think that this may help, but I wanted just to add my small voice to those who feel his loss so deeply.

For non-philosophers without training in ethics like me, who encountered evidence of the erosion of the integrity of science and the conflicts of interest in medical practice, it all comes down to the protection of patients. Everyone who is concerned about these ideals is aware of Shelly’s seminal leadership, but I wanted to describe the impact he had long ago on a junior physician and scientist — myself -- although I know I am not the only physician deeply impacted by Shelly’s ideas, his advocacy and his wisdom 

In the mid-1990s, when I found myself at the centre of a conflict which has now absorbed my life for the past 25 years, I faced the wrath of not only a billionaire Pharmaceutical company CEO, one of Canada’s richest and influential men, but of the University and the academic hospital where I worked, both anticipating a large donation from the CEO. I had raised concerns about the safety of a drug I had begun to test in children in approved clinical trials (trials that were originally publicly funded, but latterly supplemented by the CEO). After I raised those concerns, the CEO threatened me with “all legal remedies” and shut down the trials prematurely in an effort to prevent further generation of data adverse to his interests and began a 20 year campaign against my personal and professional integrity. The grim saga is a long one, and its details are not the important part of this letter to you. 

Shelly highlighted the struggle which was still ongoing when he wrote Science and the Private Interest, a book I read the week it was published, After that, he and I corresponded. I first met Shelly in Boston after he came to a talk I gave at the public health school and we had a long, far ranging discussion. What I remember most on first meeting Shelly was how kind, modest, and interested he was. His intense focus on and sympathy about the details of my case in which few (by then) were interested, how he listened, how he asked questions with real interest, quietly absorbing the disastrous narrative, is so clear nearly 18 years later. As an expert who could have predicted my story (and other similar conflicts), Shelly never pushed himself forward as the expert. He was open to my thoughts and ideas of how to make things better -- most of which, I see now, may have seemed naive — and he was so kind. I am sure you have heard this many times and, of course, known it without hearing it, but Shelly stood out most as much because of his kindness as his wisdom. 

We met a few times after that. He attended a panel in which I participated about institutional corruption in Cambridge a few years ago on which I was somewhat isolated (the panel was full of people who made pronouncements like “It is very important that we involve business in medicine for the good of patients and doctors” — which of course both Shelly and I believed is wrong, as well as harmful to patients and doctors).  Each time a prominent individual said something like this focusing on the “need” for of public-private-parternships, this was followed by some general approving head-nodding in the audience. At one of these moments, I caught Shelly’s eye and it prompted me (if he hadn’t been there, I might have been intimidated) to openly challenge this nonsense, and I spoke up. And what is telling is that there was applause and agreement with me - that is, of course, with Shelly - about the importance of resisting such influence. That reminds me daily that if we do not speak up, then many appear to be approving and supportive of these ongoing wrongs.

I could go on, but only to say the same thing in different ways: Like so many I miss Shelly's presence in the world, in a very small way compared to your loss and those of your children, and your grandchildren. He was one of the 36. I know that he is still with us.

Again, I am very sorry this has taken so long to write. 

With my very best wishes.

Nancy Olivieri
Posted by Paul J. Cummins on August 3, 2022
I am terribly saddened to learn of Sheldon's death. We crossed paths when I was a graduate student working on bioethics, and he was generous and encouraging to a junior scholar. Sheldon prompted me to submit a paper I discussed with him to a journal whose editorial board he was on. That led to my first publication and an invitation for a guest talk, and a huge confidence boost. Later, he attended a seminar series I helped organize and I was always glad for his insightful, funny, and humble contributions. He was a prolific and excellent scholar, but a model for supporting future scholars. My condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Lisa Benger on July 19, 2022
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox

when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument. -Mary Oliver

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Posted by Barbara Roy on July 18, 2022
I knew Sheldon as the father of one of my dearest friends from high school. While my interactions with him were few, there’s a lot you can learn from someone through the eyes of their children. I knew that Sheldon was an incredibly dedicated father and grandfather. He was so proud of his daughter, my dear friend, Alyssa. He was a devoted husband who loved to walk the streets of Cambridge and New York City with his beloved wife, Carolyn. He was brilliant, a prolific writer, scholar and beloved Tuft professor. He was a proud grandfather who doted on his grandchildren. Sheldon Krimsky’s legacy will be remembered in many ways, but he will always be remembered to me as my friend’s wonderful, caring father of whom she was so proud.
Posted by Suchi Mumford on July 18, 2022
Sheldon Krimsky was a remarkable man who I knew through the lens of his family in Cambridge. His sudden passing was shocking and entirely too soon. My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and those touched by his presence. May we keep his legacy alive for years to come.
Posted by Suchi Mumford on July 18, 2022
Sheldon Krimsky was a remarkable man who I knew through the lens of his family in Cambridge. His sudden passing was shocking and entirely too soon. My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and those touched by his presence. May we keep his legacy alive for years to come.
Posted by Gwen Ryan on July 18, 2022
One of my earlier memories of Papa Krimsky was participating in the annual Thankful House, the year after the beloved Nana Rose's passing. From then on, I will always remember how fiercely devoted he was to anything I had to say, as a philosophy major with a strong interest in genetic testing - his excitement emanating from his hand gestures that we all adored. Deepest condolences to Alyssa, Eliot and Carolyn for this unimaginable loss.
Posted by Alyssa Clossey on June 26, 2022
In honor of my father on his birthday today, June 26, we will be leaving flowers on benches in Washington Square Park in New York City--the place where he loved to people watch, listen to music, read books and walk throughout the cultural aspects and beauty that is Greenwich Village.
Posted by Dorothy Krimsky on June 26, 2022
Sheldon Krimsky was born to Alex and Rose Krimsky in June 1941. He was named after his grandfather, Shalom Krimsky, later anglicized to Samuel who migrated to the US in 1911. Samuel died in 1930.  Samuel sent money for Alex and his sister to emigrate in 1924 and the sisters and mother in 1926.  Alex, 3 sisters and one brother lived in the village of Tulchin in Southern Ukraine. Their mother worked as a cook in an orphanage. Alex was shot in the leg by armed Cossacks during a pogrom. Alex had about 2-3 years of schooling. The emigrations of Alex and Rose are described in the book “From Brooklyn, NY to Brookline, MA” and “Leaving Mother Russia.” 
Rose was born and lived in Bieleh, a small village near the town of Yampol north of the Crimea in Ukraine. Her mother died when Rose was about 4 years old. She was raised by two aunts. She had no shoes and attended no school. Her father emigrated to the USA on the day she was born to avoid conscription. Her father sent money for her to immigrate to the USA when Rose was about 13 years old. Bieleh was probably eviscerated by the Nazis who invaded Ukraine.  She learned to read and write and arithmetic during the few years she attended school. Rose was withdrawn from Junior High School and not allowed to graduate because the family needed income. 
Alex Krimsky worked as a metal worker in the Baltimore Naval Shipyard during WW II, house painter and later as a taxi driver in New York until he developed a heart condition.  We had money for food, and rent, and basic clothing. Education in the New York City public schools and colleges were free.
Sheldon and I grew up in Coney Island in three small rooms with an inside bathroom. He attended PS 188 and Mark Twain JHS. He played street games and followed the Brooklyn Dodgers. We took the subway to Ebbets Field and watched the Dodgers play the Pittsburgh Pirates at a double header and saw Ralph Kiner hit a home run. Sheldon even walked with me to visit our grandfather in East New York on the Jewish Day of Atonement.  He was studious and was selected to attend Stuyvesant HS. 
Sheldon was a sensitive soul. That is why our mother selected him to be her health care proxy. She died at age 98.5 and Sheldon interrupted his academic work to be in charge of her care. At age 9 or 10 he asked our parents to buy a canary and bird cage and he would provide food, water and clean the cage. Cary the Canary died 6 or 8 months later and he felt sad and our sensitive mother did not want to just throw the dead bird into the trash. So I made a cardboard box for Cary, brought Cary to an adjacent empty lot with weeds and trees, dug a hole, placed the box into the hole, and covered the hole with dirt to prevent rodents from eating the bird. I recited the Hebrew prayer for the dead over the bird and Sheldon felt better. Sheldon asked for another bird so our parents bought a parakeet that we named Fogel.  The same thing happened in 6 or 8 months. We buried Fogel and gave away the bird cage.
He attended Brooklyn College majoring in physics following in my footsteps. Our immigrant parents were poor and Sheldon realized that education was the only way to achieve the American Dream. He was not influenced by money or power but was a pursuer of truth and this was reflected in his PhD thesis about the philosophy of science using thought experiments in which he examined space, time, and vacuum idealizations and their consequence for tangible experiments and idealized physical laws..  He wrote 17 books about environmental hazards, GMOs, DNA, pesticides in food, etc. subjects that were not taught in school and not reflected in his PhD thesis.  He must have attended lectures, consulted with colleagues, read and understood learned articles before he gained a prodigious understanding of these subjects. He exposed the influence of money on science even in academia. He was responsible for having authors reveal their sources of funding in technical papers and conferences to reveal any potential influences from the funding source.  Sheldon was rational, honest, and incorruptible, a product of poor uneducated parents and the free New York City public school system.
Sidney Krimsky
June 2022
Posted by genes society on June 6, 2022
At our Genetics and Society Working Group meeting last night we remembered and reminisced about our friend and colleague Sheldon Krimsky. Some of us knew him for over forty years, others only a few. But, however long we knew Shelly, each of us expressed that he was an invaluable member of our group and he will be deeply missed as a colleague. His curiosity about genetics research and technologies, his determination to get the science right, and his wealth of knowledge about the ways that genetics matters for public policy formed the basis for many of our best discussions and for his important written work. But above that we remember his warmth, sense of humor and the way he truly listened and cared for each of us as. A truly wonderful person. Shelly you will be missed. On behalf of the GSWG, June 1, 2022 
Posted by Ed Hackett on May 11, 2022
Sheldon Krimsky is no longer with us. His loss is deeply felt by family and friends, and by entire fields of scholarship concerned with the ethics and politics of science and technology. The intersection of science and technology with human values is where this journal lives, and where Shelly’s loss will leave a profound emptiness. Phil Brown’s remembrance of Shelly beautifully portrays the nature and magnitude of Shelly’s scholarship, and the character and magnanimity of the man. Here I wish to recognize and express gratitude for the many ways Shelly contributed to scholarship and human wellbeing through his 40-year engagement with Science, Technology & Human Values as author, reviewer, and Editorial Board member.

Shelly published 7 articles and reviews in ST&HV, the first in 1983, the most recent in 2021. A quick survey of likely suspects found no one rivaling Shelly’s presence in our pages. Two notable articles were published during my tenure as editor: “Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Bias Research?” (2012) and “An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment” (2015). The latter has received 8,724 online views and downloads; impressive impact by any standard. Shelly took on some of the most vexing issues of our day, and did so with grace, force, and principle.

You may not be surprised to learn that challenging papers attract critical reviews and do not glide easily into print. “Illusory Consensus,” for example, drew sharply divided reviews. Here’s how I broke the news to Shelly:

We have received three reviews of your paper (see below) and, while two of them (R1 and R3) are positive, the third (R2) raises several issues of substance, method, and interpretation that should be addressed. Some of these are stated in a confrontational style, and so we would ask you to look through the style and take seriously the substance. We are hoping you will use this review to take on, in a measured fashion, some of the difficult issues at the heart of scientific assessment of safety and hazard. 

Some scholars of Shelly’s accomplishment and eminence might take umbrage, snarl, and withdraw the paper in favor of a friendlier press. Shelly, however, welcomed—relished!—the intellectual give and take of academe:

To the Editors: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the reviewers. Critical, tough minded reviewers are essential to the publication process to insure that the author can account for claims, address potential errors, defend a methodology, and provide credible documentation from the scholarly record. I welcome the reviews. While, in my view, Reviewer 2 at times crossed the line of professionalism, I addressed each of the critical points that were specific to the paper. Here are my detailed responses, which include revisions I have made in the manuscript. … I welcomed the reviews and thank you for choosing tough reviewers.

Shelly gave as good as he got, and I mean that in the best sense. I cannot freely quote reviews without identifying Shelly as the reviewer, but I can aver that a Sheldon Krimsky review is detailed, substantive, constructive, challenging, informed. Shelly would parse the manuscript’s originality from its mundanity, sharpen errant concepts, redirect misguided arguments, reposition its place in the literature, reorganize logic, correct language and references, and supply missing bibliography, all in a voice that is authoritative and forthright but gentle.

Shelly Krimsky embodied and propagated a style of selfless scholarship that grows all too rare today. The ST&HV community gained so much for so long from Shelly, and are deeply grateful for his gifts to us.

References

Krimsky, Sheldon. 2012. “Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Bias Research?” Science, Technology & Human Values 38 (4): 566-587. 

Krimsky, Sheldon. 2015. “An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Heath Assessment.” Science, Technology & Human Values. 40 (6): 883-914.
Posted by Rand Wilson on May 10, 2022
Shelly and I were not close friends, but we travelled in similar circles and encountered each other often over the last 30 years or so. He always showed a keen interest in my work, labor unions protecting members from genetic discrimination, and the intersection of the labor and environmental movements. Shelly was active as an advisor to the North Cambridge Toxic Alert a pioneering local movement. He also was very interested in Somerville politics! Shelly was so young at heart, I just can't believe he's gone. But he certainly won't be forgotten.
Posted by Emily Fano on May 10, 2022
I was stunned to learn of Shelly's passing. Shelly was my Tufts UEP Professor and mentor from 1992-1997. He helped to shape my thinking about public policy and the role of corporations in society; he introduced me and fellow students to his colleague Bill McKibben who spoke to our Urban and Environmental Policy class. We read and discussed books like 'The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution' which had a huge impact on me and still does to this day. Most importantly, on a personal level, Shelly convinced me to publish my Masters thesis about the scientific fallacy of animal testing for regulatory toxicology, which became 'Lethal Laws: Animal Testing, Human health and Environmental Policy' by Alix Fano (1997, Zed Books/St Martin's Press). As I was writing and editing, he challenged me to strengthen my arguments by explaining, and then debunking, my "opponents'" claims. I am forever grateful for his belief in my work, his scholarship, his thoughtfulness, and his role as a biotech watchdog - a space that needs many more voices. We just lost a great one. My condolences to Shelly's family and the Tufts and global communities.
Posted by Kostas Kampourakis on May 10, 2022
My sincere condolences to Shelly’s family. I never met him in person, but our online discussions and email exchanges over the recent years were enjoyable and fruitful. He was one of the most generous persons I have ever interacted with, and our correspondence began when I sent him a book manuscript and asked him for feedback. Not only were his comments on the manuscript very useful, he also wrote a warm endorsement for that book. In recent years we worked together on his last book, and were planning several others. He even tried to set up a course we would teach together to medical students. In every instance, in every interaction we had, he was kind and generous. He will be forever missed.
Posted by Teresa Sopp on May 8, 2022
Shelly Krimsky and I started at the university of South Florida in 1970-he as a Professor in the Philosophy Department and me as a freshman. I eventually became a work-study student assistant in the department, and took classes with Shelly. He was an amazing teacher and an impressive academic, but more importantly I became friends with his family and was the first babysitter for his daughter Alyssa. What an incredible legacy he has left, both academically and with his family. Peace, Teri Sopp
Posted by John Clinton on May 8, 2022
Shelly was an unstintingly generous and extraordinarily kind friend and mentor. We first met when--a dozen years ago--he served as external reviewer for a new graduate degree program in environmental policy I was developing at The New School, and his suggestions were, it goes without saying, insightful and enormously helpful. Afterwards, we became friends, and three or four times a year when he was in New York during a semester break or in the summer, we’d get together in the Village for coffee. We’d talk about issues and our work, but invariably he’d first ask about my daughter and grandkids.

It was a great privilege to have the opportunity to work together on a few projects, and his advice was invaluable. I was planning to email him just this week to gain his perspective on a new climate change project. Even with his extraordinary scholarly agenda--almost annually, a new book--and often in an entirely new area. Yet he would take the time in those emails to write about places for which we shared affection, like Provincetown. Looking today through the nearly 200 he sent over the years – some just about coffee meet-ups, some about collaborative efforts -- I am struck by one in particular. When I was appointed interim dean, his congratulatory note closed with what is so characteristic of Shelly, "Anything I can do to support you, I’ll be there." I will miss him so.
Posted by Paul Billings on May 6, 2022
My deepest condolences go out to Shelly's immediate family and relatives. He was a dear friend and mentor to me for many years. I met him in the 1980's with Stuart Newman, Claire Nadar, Ruth Hubbard and Phil Bereano when I was active with the Genetic Screening Study Group and Science for the People. Later we served as Directors of CRG and he followed me as Chair. He was insightful, kind and generous with his thoughts and concerns. I have lost someone very meaningful to my life. Rest in Peace. Paul (please let me know about remembrances and events at prbillings@earthlink.net)
Posted by Les Rothenberg on May 6, 2022
While teaching at the UCLA School of Medicine, I collaborated with Shelly on several grants and numerous academic journal articles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was a wonderful colleague and a generous human being. I wish to extend my condolences to his family, Tufts colleagues, and friends.
Posted by Daniel Mandell on May 6, 2022
Shelly was my teacher and advisor at Urban and Environmental Policy in the late 80s, and was a key reason that grad program was so wonderful for the soul as well as the brain. Afterwards I would occasionally visit, until I moved far from the region, and he was always happy to meet and talk. He was mensch, and his memory will be a blessing.
Posted by Regina Raboin on May 5, 2022
To Prof. Krimsky's Family, Friends, and Colleagues: What a gem of a person – I was astonished by his academic brilliance, and admired him even more for his social/emotional intelligence. His love and respect for people, but in particular his students, was incredible and I was fortunate to be given the privilege to collaborate with him, and at one time, call him a friend and colleague. I have many wonderful memories of my career at Tufts University and of being the librarian for the Urban and Environmental Policy & Planning department. I am particularly proud of having assisted Shelly (and at that time graduate student Kris Bronars) with his research into science policy and GM food - it was a highlight of my work with him. When I left Tufts some of the UEPP faculty gifted me with copies of their books – Shelly presented me with “Environmental Hazards: Communicating Risks as a Social Process”. He knew of my great interest in environmental justice. He signed it and thanked me for my contributions to UEPP and to their students and faculty at Tufts. How many librarians are able to experience the collegiality from a professor the likes of him? All of these UEPP books are with me at UMass Chan, and when I have a difficult day, I just look over my shoulder and thank them for their encouragement and friendship. Shelly will never be forgotten by me.
Posted by Mark Izeman on May 2, 2022
In the early 1980s I took a class with Prof Krimsky called (or very close to this) "Nuclear Arms, the Environment and Human Destiny."  It was one of the best classes I ever took in college. And if I hadn't taken it, I likely would not have dedicated my career to environmental issues. His brilliant and unique insights on the history of science -- especially GMOs - also had a profound impact on me. When I saw him a few years, I was reminded of his decency, humbleness and activist spirit.
Posted by Laura Newman on May 2, 2022
I was fortunate enough to be admitted to the Urban Environmental Policy program in its inaugural year. Shelly interviewed me and became my thesis advisor. We developed a close friendship then and in the years following. I enjoyed Shelly's eccentricities as well. Once, I was driving to New York on #84 and at a tollbooth, Shelly spotted me from his car . He said he really needed to talk and we agreed to meet up at the next exit. He was upset because he was visiting his mother in New York and it was clear that she couldn't live alone away from family much longer. It was clear a change was urgently needed (she moved closer to Shelly shortly thereafter). I had many laughs with him over the years and admired his persistence in rocking the boat to protect the environment and public health. May his memory be for a blessing.
Posted by Phil Brown on May 2, 2022
I know Shelly since 1986 when he served as a guest editor for a special issue of Science, Technology, and Human Values. He shepherded through the first article I published in my new career in environmental health, and we were friends and colleagues ever since. Shelly invited me into a two-year workshop on risk that brought together the smartest people in the field, and I gained much insight from that. Shelly brought me onto the editorial board of Gene Watch, the publication of the Council for Responsible Genetics, and I learned so much from that experience, including seeing his powerful leadership capacity for the organization. Shelly always exemplified the best combination of human capacities: compassionate, friendly, supportive, clever, collaborative, funny, creative, imaginative. We shared many talks about science, politics, children, grandchildren, teaching, books, music. It was always amazing how readily Shelly could grab onto a new project, interest colleagues and students in it, and produce important research and popular writing so quickly. He used his science for critical thinking, activist solutions, and community participation. I will miss him very much.
Posted by Steve Gartrell on May 2, 2022
Shelly was my thesis advisor. I entered in 1975 (second class). Between my first and second years, I got an internship writing the Open Space Plan for the City of Newton, MA, which turned into full time job. Shelly persevered with me through the extra year with my thesis, so I finally graduated in 1981. Funny story: during my Newton internship, Newton employees went out on strike. I refused to cross the picket lines. The Newton Planning director was irate and called Shelly and said that I should be kicked out of the program. Shelly just laughed and said "No way!" He chuckled when he told me. 33 years later, I retired as Newton's Director of Housing and Community Development. Thank you, Shelly!
Posted by Bindu Panikkar on May 2, 2022
Shelly changed my life. I would not have moved to the US and started my graduate studies, if it were not for him. He was the advisor that I was looking for to kick start my career--inspiring, passionate about environmental issues, ethical, interdisciplinary, visionary, and kind. His impact on my scholarly life will be everlasting, because he taught me anew how to see the world, passed on his love for learning, his inquisitiveness, sense of fairness, explorations through writing, love for philosophy. He has passed down a unique part of himself to the students he has taught and how fortunate we are to have received this gift and to carry forward this light. I am eternally grateful to him. How lucky I have have been to have had him as my teacher. I will miss him much. My condolences and deep respect to his family. 
Posted by Jenny Helmick on May 2, 2022
I was a student at UEP from 1986-1988, and as a graduate assistant helped with Professor Krimsky's book Environmental Hazards: Communicating Risk as a Social Process. He inspired and encouraged me during my time at Tufts, and was instrumental in helping me forge a career in environmental research and writing. I remember his warmth, humor, sharp intellect, and colorful ties! I am sad to learn of his passing, and can only imagine how many lives he touched and enriched during his time on Earth. My deepest condolences to his family.
Posted by Jim Murphy on May 2, 2022
I first met Shelly as a student his Env. Ethics course back in 1994 and what I learned/read in that course still resonates with me today. Recently we reconnected as Shelly served as a external committee member for a PhD student of mine. As ever, his insights, vast ranging knowledge, and constructively critical inputs made the work so much stronger. His scholarly work was profound and path-breaking from start to finish. Beyond this, he was a gifted educator and a warm and creative soul whose talents and love for music and the arts was inspirational. Thank you Shelly
Posted by Kristin Shrader-Frechette on May 1, 2022
Blessings to everyone who knew and loved Shelly and who now wonders what we shall all do without him. For decades, his work has been at the forefront of environmental and biomedical sciences. Indeed he has written the classic pieces in both genetic engineering and its associated ethics and in pharmaceutical research and ethics. Because his work has appeared not only in the top journals/presses, but also in popular sources and in medical sources, he has been an "everyman," writing not just for scholars and scientists, but for everyone who hopes to help make the world a better place.

No scientist anywhere has done more than Krimsky to show how corporate-funded “fake science” threatens democracy, the environment, public health, and science itself. Unless scientists like Shelly speak truth to power, democracies fall and innocent people continue to get hurt.

Driving Shelly's world-class scholarship was his idealism, his kindness, his compassion for vulnerable people everywhere, his humility, his sense of humor, and his delightful latent for and love of music.  We were all better people for having been able to call him a dear friend. Thank you Shelly.

Kristin Shrader-Frechette
Biological Sciences Department and Philosophy Department
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Posted by Sheila Jasanoff on May 1, 2022
My deepest sympathy for Shelly's family. I knew Shelly for more than three decades as a valued friend and colleague, and a fighter for justice against any form of unreasoning control, even in the name of science and technology. His was a steady critical voice and presence in a time when a politically engaged passion for truth could not be more sorely needed. He will be much missed, but his work lives on.
Posted by Lindsay Naughton on April 28, 2022
I was a student of Shelly's beginning my M.A. with the '22 graduating class. Our cohort started the program and met our professors fully virtually. I'll never forget first meeting Shelly over Zoom. He spoke about New York City with a love that reminded me why it was that I always wanted to go back to school to study urban planning.

One of the positives of "zoom school" is that I was able to go back and find the mini-lecture that has—and will continue—to stick with me. Here Shelly critiques Professor Agyeman's Just Sustainabilities (sorry Julian!)

https://tufts.box.com/s/8g63o2wgp8spq6o0ault0q7cx76rvuom
Posted by Betty Brown on April 27, 2022
Shelly was my neighbor in Tampa, Florida, where he was a University of South Florida professor. I was fortunate to know him and family throughout his life. Shelly was a supportive advocate of the common person and life’s hurdles. Alert to social and political concerns, his teaching and scholar contributions bolstered goodness in humanity. Throughout his life, that leadership and contribution gave a sense of security in an ever-changing world. His enduring love and enjoyment of family, friends, music and art will mark my heart forever.
Posted by Annie Soisson on April 27, 2022
In my first years at Tufts (14 years ago) at the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, I had the good chance to work with Shelly for a couple of years on a course called Stem Cells and Society, an interdisciplinary seminar. Shelly taught this course as part of a team including Jonathan Garlick, David Kaplan and Mitch Silver, and the dialogue between these four brilliant and fascinating scholars was so engaging that I then attended every class! Shelly had this way of cocking his head with a smile as he listened carefully and then countered arguments, taking copious notes and drawing in his small notebooks all along. He was a lifelong learner, and last fall (at the age of 80 I now know) signed up for an intensive teaching program so that he could teach better virtually. A true gentleman and a scholar - and now, having listened to some of his music - a renaissance man? :) You will be missed, Shelly. You were part of the fabric of Tufts.
Posted by Larry Risko on April 27, 2022
Shelly was not only a beloved Scholar, but greatest friend.. a loving, giving, caring, intelligent.. wonderful human being- being so very missed especially for Carolyn.. and Family. His Contributions were immense. There is not a gent-ler, kinder genuine person on earth- this was very much sudden to lose a treasure of a person. We will forever miss you Shelly and, never ever forget You.
Posted by Charles Inouye on April 26, 2022
I didn't know Shelly well, but I wish to honor his memory and to wish for quick and total healing for anyone who might be jarred by his passing. I knew him as a confident man with a wide-ranging intellect. Serving on the Tenure and Promotion Committee together, we disagreed about one of the candidates who had come up for tenure, someone who is now a department chair and leading figure on the faculty, no less. The outside letters were strong, yet Shelly was skeptical about the subfield of the candidate's research. To me, it was a case of having an opinion about something beyond one's area of expertise. On the other hand, I also admired Shelly for knowing enough about "someone else's field" to have the kind of confidence that he did. Now that I'm looking over the list of his publications, I can see just how broad his learning was. Perhaps we should all be as widely read and as confident in our judgments as he was, though that would be extraordinary.
Posted by John McDonald on April 25, 2022
Shelly Krimsky carried me through tough times at Tufts with his resolve, generosity, and sense of fairness. He always seemed young to me, driven by and excited by his work. He was generous to me through music, and was particularly supportive to me when I was a young faculty member. He loved talking about music, and of his pride in Eliot's accomplishments. He shared much with me about the music of his cousin Salim Krymsky (1930-2022). I had planned to play one of Salim's preludes on a concert at Tufts this week. Now, with double poignancy, I will play it in memory of both Shelly and Salim.
https://as.tufts.edu/music/news-events/live-streaming--Tufts Composers New Sounds Now; TH April 28, 2022, 2:30-4pm
Posted by Jarrod McCarthy on April 25, 2022
I was a student of Shelly's- he was a wise and happy and determined soul. One day, at the Brown House on campus, we got talking about playing guitar. We shared stories of jam sessions we had played at, and talked about our recorded music projects for almost an hour. He didn't have a streaming service when I tried to show him my work, so I ran home to get a CD to bring back. He had left when I got to the Brown house again, so I wrote him a note on the CD cover and slid it under his office door. Two days later, he emailed me back a thoughtful review of every song. I was so happy he took the time to really listen and consider it and then went to write out his thoughts for me. He was just above and beyond, I'm going to miss him.
Posted by Sophie Schildhause on April 25, 2022
I enjoyed all of the courses I took with Shelly. I appreciated his unique teaching style, extensive knowledge, challenge of critical thinking skills, stories, and humor. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to have him as a professor. I know that he has impacted many lives through his teaching and that his memory will live on.
Posted by Sarah Gauger on April 25, 2022
The beloved Professor brought so much joy to this world. I've loved watching how excited he would be to contribute to interesting conversations, how inquisitive he was, and how deeply he adored his family. We love you all and will remember Papa Krimsky always.

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Posted by Nancy Olivieri on September 2, 2022
Dear Carolyn and Alyssa,

I wanted to write to convey my deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of Shelly. 

This has been delayed because I have been struggling to write it because it has been difficult to describe what Shelly meant to me (and I have undoubtedly failed here) - that is, what he meant not only personally because of his great warmth and interest in important ideals but also in the inspiring leadership and help in battles against the domination of industry influence in medicine and science,. He meant and still means so much to so many others engaged in those battles. 

I hope you don’t mind my presuming to do this, but Shelly has never been far from my thoughts since I learned the sad news, and I hope just to tell you what he meant not only to me, but to a community if scholars from whom I am sure you have heard similar expressions of loss. I don’t presume to think that this may help, but I wanted just to add my small voice to those who feel his loss so deeply.

For non-philosophers without training in ethics like me, who encountered evidence of the erosion of the integrity of science and the conflicts of interest in medical practice, it all comes down to the protection of patients. Everyone who is concerned about these ideals is aware of Shelly’s seminal leadership, but I wanted to describe the impact he had long ago on a junior physician and scientist — myself -- although I know I am not the only physician deeply impacted by Shelly’s ideas, his advocacy and his wisdom 

In the mid-1990s, when I found myself at the centre of a conflict which has now absorbed my life for the past 25 years, I faced the wrath of not only a billionaire Pharmaceutical company CEO, one of Canada’s richest and influential men, but of the University and the academic hospital where I worked, both anticipating a large donation from the CEO. I had raised concerns about the safety of a drug I had begun to test in children in approved clinical trials (trials that were originally publicly funded, but latterly supplemented by the CEO). After I raised those concerns, the CEO threatened me with “all legal remedies” and shut down the trials prematurely in an effort to prevent further generation of data adverse to his interests and began a 20 year campaign against my personal and professional integrity. The grim saga is a long one, and its details are not the important part of this letter to you. 

Shelly highlighted the struggle which was still ongoing when he wrote Science and the Private Interest, a book I read the week it was published, After that, he and I corresponded. I first met Shelly in Boston after he came to a talk I gave at the public health school and we had a long, far ranging discussion. What I remember most on first meeting Shelly was how kind, modest, and interested he was. His intense focus on and sympathy about the details of my case in which few (by then) were interested, how he listened, how he asked questions with real interest, quietly absorbing the disastrous narrative, is so clear nearly 18 years later. As an expert who could have predicted my story (and other similar conflicts), Shelly never pushed himself forward as the expert. He was open to my thoughts and ideas of how to make things better -- most of which, I see now, may have seemed naive — and he was so kind. I am sure you have heard this many times and, of course, known it without hearing it, but Shelly stood out most as much because of his kindness as his wisdom. 

We met a few times after that. He attended a panel in which I participated about institutional corruption in Cambridge a few years ago on which I was somewhat isolated (the panel was full of people who made pronouncements like “It is very important that we involve business in medicine for the good of patients and doctors” — which of course both Shelly and I believed is wrong, as well as harmful to patients and doctors).  Each time a prominent individual said something like this focusing on the “need” for of public-private-parternships, this was followed by some general approving head-nodding in the audience. At one of these moments, I caught Shelly’s eye and it prompted me (if he hadn’t been there, I might have been intimidated) to openly challenge this nonsense, and I spoke up. And what is telling is that there was applause and agreement with me - that is, of course, with Shelly - about the importance of resisting such influence. That reminds me daily that if we do not speak up, then many appear to be approving and supportive of these ongoing wrongs.

I could go on, but only to say the same thing in different ways: Like so many I miss Shelly's presence in the world, in a very small way compared to your loss and those of your children, and your grandchildren. He was one of the 36. I know that he is still with us.

Again, I am very sorry this has taken so long to write. 

With my very best wishes.

Nancy Olivieri
Posted by Paul J. Cummins on August 3, 2022
I am terribly saddened to learn of Sheldon's death. We crossed paths when I was a graduate student working on bioethics, and he was generous and encouraging to a junior scholar. Sheldon prompted me to submit a paper I discussed with him to a journal whose editorial board he was on. That led to my first publication and an invitation for a guest talk, and a huge confidence boost. Later, he attended a seminar series I helped organize and I was always glad for his insightful, funny, and humble contributions. He was a prolific and excellent scholar, but a model for supporting future scholars. My condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Lisa Benger on July 19, 2022
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox

when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument. -Mary Oliver

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
his Life

Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, internationally esteemed scholar, and pioneer in environmental ethics

Dr. Sheldon Krimsky, internationally esteemed scholar, and pioneer in environmental ethics passed away unexpectedly in Cambridge, MA, April 23, 2022. He was 80. His probing works investigate the connection between science, ethics, and biotechnology, and illuminates the pernicious role chemicals play in the environment. A truly adored professor at Tufts University for 47 years, he held the distinguished position of Lenore Stern Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. He also taught ethics to medical students at the Tufts University School of Medicine and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, the New School and New York University. He attended Brooklyn College and received his MA from Purdue University, and PhD in Philosophy at Boston University.

In his prolific and inspirational academic career, Dr. Krimsky authored 17 books including Understating DNA Ancestry (Cambridge University Press), Genetic Alchemy (MIT Press), Biotechnics and Society (Praeger), Hormonal Chaos (Johns Hopkins), and Science in the Private Interest (Rowman and Littlefield). He also co-authored Environmental Hazards and Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment and published more than 235 articles on the regulation and social and ethical aspects of science and technology.

Dr. Krimsky served on the National Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of NIH and chaired the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. He was also a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment and most recently served on the Board of Directors for the Council for Responsible Genetics. He was also a Fellow of the Hastings Center on Bioethics, serving on the editorial board of seven noted journals.

Born in Brooklyn, he embraced his New York roots, eventually living part-time in Greenwich Village where he was often seen in Washington Square Park or getting his daily cup of coffee and a bagel in cafés or at the Green Market, where he always came home with a treat, usually apple pie. He also played guitar and harmonica, sometimes jamming with friends and writing and improvising songs. Fiercely loyal, kind, and supportive to family and friends, he was thoroughly devoted to teaching and to his students. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky, playwright, visual artist, and author, and two adored children Alyssa Krimsky Clossey and Eliot Krimsky, along with their spouses Will Clossey and Lisa Benger, as well as three cherished grandchildren, Siona Rose Krimsky (age 3), Andrew Krimsky Clossey (age 18) and Benjamin Perry Clossey (age 20). He will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family has established The Sheldon Krimsky Fund for Environmental Ethics and Values

Read the Tufts Now story featured on April 28, 2022.

Learn more about his life's work at: https://sites.tufts.edu/sheldonkrimsky.





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Shared by neil marmor on June 13, 2022
We met at Stuyvesant long ago.  Shelly was the kid from Brooklyn with a flat top haircut.  Smart too.  His dad was a professional painter - a house painter.  About 12 years ago, we reconnected when I saw a reference to him in the NYTimes.  I'm glad we did.  Tho our politics differed, he was smart, articulate, gracious, open minded, and humble.  I sent him an e mail a few days ago and learned that he was gone.  I will miss him. I will remember him.  A very special person.

Has some one sent Stuyvesant High School an obit?

neil marmor
Stuyvesant HS, 6/59.