Barbara Jannuzi passed away Dec. 20, 2023, at the age of 88 after a brief illness. Devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, she inspired those around her with her passion for justice, her courage, and her optimism even in the face of daunting challenges.
Born in Passaic, N.J. June 5, 1935, Barbara was the daughter of pastor and educator Buell Gordon Gallagher and June Sampson Gallagher. The Gallaghers were pioneers in the civil rights movement and passed their passion for justice and equal rights on to their daughters. Barbara and her older sister Maryel grew up in Talladega Alabama, Berkeley California, and Washington D.C., following their father’s movements as President of Talladega College, professor and pastor at the Pacific School of Religion, and Truman Administration official with responsibility for higher education policy. Barbara was an accomplished pianist as a young adult. She graduated valedictorian from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington D.C. before attending Swarthmore College, where she earned a degree in Political Science with Honors in 1957.
Barbara married Frank Tomasson Jannuzi of Nutley, N.J. in Riverside Church, New York City, on Sept. 15, 1957. Barbara’s father, an ordained Congregationalist Minister and then the President of City College, conducted the ceremony. After marrying, the couple lived first in London before working in East Africa, San Francisco, and India.
Departing India in 1968, the Jannuzis and their two sons, Buell and Frank, settled in Austin, Texas, where Barbara was an active member of the Tarrytown community, leading a Cub Scout den and serving as a reading tutor in public schools. She became a successful life insurance agent with Prudential Insurance Company, earning the prestigious Chartered Life Underwriter designation. Dr. Jannuzi taught development economics for 30 years at the University of Texas.
Barbara spent countless hours nurturing her sons and chauffeuring them to various activities around town – piano lessons, swim competitions, boy scout meetings, canoeing trips, and marching band practices. Summers were marked by long road trips to visit grandparents in New York and Massachusetts which turned into traveling seminars on American history and geography.
The couple moved to Blacksburg in 1998, settling “next door” to Barbara’s sister and her husband, Dr. Sidney Herman. The two couples were inseparable, traveling often to Europe, with Greece and Italy being favorite destinations.
As much joy as Barbara derived from her immediate family, she treasured even more the arrival of four grandchildren – Brighouse and Barnes (sons of Buell and his wife, Alison Lowell) and Zoe and Camille (daughters of Frank and his wife, Jennifer Martin). She loved spending holidays with them, playing card games, telling stories, sharing good books, watching fantasy movies, and listening to music. Barbara drafted elaborate annual Christmas day messages, written in code, making them ever more difficult to decipher as the grandchildren grew and their powers of deduction increased.
Preceded in death by her sister Maryel and brother-in-law Sidney, Barbara is survived by her husband, two sons and their wives, four grandchildren, three nephews and a niece. Her memory lives on in the hearts of all who loved her.
The Jannuzi family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford.