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Rites Set for Friend of the Arts, Dorothy Jane Smith

January 22, 1986

Services are scheduled today for Dorothy Jane Smith, a philanthropist whose gifts ranged from a pocket park in Hollywood to a writers workshop in South-Central Los Angeles to the National Art Gallery in Washington.

Mrs. Smith died at her Beverly Hills home Sunday of a brain tumor.

Wife of retired businessman and industrialist Benjamin B. Smith, she was one of the first art benefactors to take advantage of the lithographs coming out of the now famous Tamarind and Gemini collections and over the years accumulated a representation of those works valued in the millions of dollars.

As her home began to fill to capacity she donated hundreds of the works to museums around the country, including a $1-million gift of contemporary prints and drawings to the national gallery. A gallery of contemporary works in the Los Angeles County Art Museum's new Robert L. Anderson Building has been named for the Smiths and is scheduled to open in November, said a museum spokeswoman.

Outside the art world her largess produced a neighborhood park at Franklin and Sycamore avenues in Hollywood, helped sustain Bud Shulberg's Watts Writers Workshop and contributed to the post-riot founding in 1965 of the Interracial Business Council in South-Central Los Angeles. Earlier she had established a halfway house for veterans emerging from World War II.

She turned her garden in the old Atwater Kent estate in Bel-Air, where the Smiths then lived, into a nursery, donating plants and shrubs to the UCLA International Student Center, Pepperdine University and County-USC Medical Center, among others. Cedars Sinai Medical Center alone received 400 prints for patients' rooms from her collection.

A founder and benefactor of the Music Center, Mrs. Smith came to California with her husband from St. Louis where she had founded a local chapter of Planned Parenthood. Once here she became a supporter of the Contemporary Arts Council which helps sustain unknown artists.

In 1964 the Smiths were among the first three volunteers to join President Lyndon B. Johnson's International Executive Service Corps, likened to a businessman's Peace Corps.

They spent most of the following two years in Ethiopia, Uganda, Pakistan and Israel, helping businessmen in those countries improve profits and productivity.

Her rites are scheduled at 1 p.m. at Hillside Memorial Park Chapel.

Survivors, besides her husband, include son Frederick, daughter Ellen Graff, mother Esther Pepper, two brothers, Selwyn and Daniel Pepper, and two grandchildren.

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