We are deeply grieved to announce that Barbara Ellen Jones Galaty passed away on July 22, 2022, in the company of her family, following an extended illness. Barbara had a thoughtful and creative mind and loved sharing scientific and cultural ideas with friends and colleagues through the fine art of conversation. A scientific researcher who became a world expert on the scientific study of sleep, she cast a bright light that illuminated the world around her and those who knew and loved her. She was exemplary in reconciling a professional career at the highest level with a rich and intimate family life, and friendships on every continent.
Barbara Jones will be deeply missed by her husband John Galaty and their son James Galaty, her brother Jeffrey Jones, nieces Kristina and Heather, her sister Holly Jones Roberts, brothers-in law David and Thomas Galaty, sisters-in-law Elizabeth Sagan and Mary McConnell, nephews Dylan Galaty, Johnny Sagan, and Charles Sagan, nieces Elise Alpen, Margaret Sagan, Ann Leader-Picone, Kassel Claire Galaty, and Laurel Galaty, great-nephew Douglas Sagan and great-niece Mara Leader-Picone, and by her many cousins.
Barbara was born in Philadelphia on December 19, 1944. She graduated from the University of Delaware with BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Psychology, while initiating her life-long passion for French language, literature, and culture. Melding her passion for French and scientific inquiry, she pursued Master’s research at the Université de Lyon (1968-69) and Postdoctoral studies at the Collège de France in Paris (1970-72). She established experimental laboratories to study the sleep-waking cycle at the University of Chicago (1972-77) and the University of Nairobi (1974-75) before joining the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Montreal, where she took great pleasure in Montreal’s melding of the French and English milieux. She avidly pursued research and teaching in the neurosciences over a 42-year career at McGill, before retiring as an Emerita Professor in 2019.
During her career, she established a wide international network of colleagues and collaborators, while pursuing scientific studies of neurochemical and neurophysiological mechanisms of sleep and waking. She and her family relocated internationally during sabbatical leaves, to Oxford University (1984-85) and three times (1991-82, 1998-99, 2006-07) to Université de Genève where she collaborated with Dr. Michel Muhlethaler, while taking great pleasure living, successively, in a country village, on the shores of Lake Geneva, and in the foothills of the Jura, and exploring the Alps.
Barbara Jones travelled widely, exploring diverse corners of the globe in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, often in the wake of scientific conferences. She hosted many international scholars in her laboratory, with whom she built strong and lasting ties of collaboration and friendship. Her bilingual capabilities and international network positioned her as a key interlocutor between the English and French-speaking scientific communities. In recognition of her many achievements, she received numerous awards, including Election to the Royal Society of Canada (2010), the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montreal Neurological Institute (2015).
Barbara loved intense scientific discussions with her colleagues, and out of a shared love of science emerged lasting relationships. With her family, she enjoyed sharing Jane Stewart’s lake-side and forested retreat in the Laurentians north of Montreal for over 40 years, with dock-side conversations evolving into long and gracious summer dinners filled with conversation and humor on a truly global range of historical, cultural, political, scientific, and personal issues. Barbara was a leader, both in her scientific pursuits and in initiating social events that brought many and diverse people together for spirited and intense exchanges, always punctuated by her thoughtful toasts that expressed appreciation for whatever special spirit her guests brought and a vision for a shared future. In Paris, her apartment, which lay on the Left Bank opposite the Louvre in a building once inhabited by the Three Mousquetaires, became a centre for conviviality, mixing French colleagues and expatriate friends in an expression of Hemingway’s moveable feast. In Nairobi, she moved between dramatically distinct circles, from the university setting to settler society, and from African intellectuals to indigenous Maasai. Barbara was an active sportswoman throughout her life, who loved horseback riding and skiing (she introduced her family to the sport while preparing for sabbatical in Switzerland, visiting the major ski centres of Europe). She also enjoyed trekking, swimming, rowing, and sailing, and received many awards for ballroom dancing. She was a dedicated bridge player, who loved gathering foursomes together before dinner, and was a superb cook, preparing the best of rural French cuisine. Barbara loved the arts in all its forms, and took deep pleasure in attending chamber music performances, orchestral concerts, operas, modern dance and ballet in Montreal and around the world.
Wherever her curiosity drew her, Barbara was passionately motivated to learn more, embracing the instantaneous access to new information provided by new technologies. After retirement, she pursued on-line studies in pre-clinical medicine to supplement her scientific understanding. Barbara Jones was a skilled practitioner of life, driven to perfect her talents, to complete whatever she began, and to seek out new endeavor's. A person who cared deeply about her family and friends, Barbara led the life she wanted, in pursuit of science, travel, the arts, friendship and family, and left it with a sense of completion. How she will be missed by those who loved her and by those brightened by the light of curiosity and friendship she shined on us all!
The family welcomes you at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex (1297 Chemin de la Forêt, Outremont, Qc, H2V 2P9) on Thursday October 13th 2022. The visitations will be from 1-3 pm, followed by a procession and Interment at the Mount Royal Cemetery.
A memorial and reception will be held on Friday, October 14, 2022 from 2:30 - 5:30 pm at Birks Heritage Chapel, School of Religious Studies, McGill University, 3520 University, Montreal, Québec, H3A 2A7.