Judith A. Barnes, PhD

TROY — Judith A. Barnes, PhD. passed away peacefully on Friday, December 14, 2018 after a three-year decline from front-temporal dementia, a rare disease that robbed this brilliant and generous influencer of her ability to do what she loved best: communicate.

Judith was born February 28, 1948 in Brighton, NY to parents Eleanor Louise Marriott Barnes and Robert William Barnes. She moved to Troy, NY for college and remained a staunch advocate for the city she so loved for the rest of her life. A 1970 BA graduate of Russell Sage College, she was a Kellas Scholar and Class President for 3 years. Upon receiving her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Communication and Rhetoric/Philosophy from RPI in 1984, she went on to become an adjunct professor in the MBA program at RPI’s Lally School of Business, teaching technical communications and leadership. Additionally, Dr. Barnes was Board Chair of the Sage Colleges from 1997 through 2004. 

She started her consulting firm, J.A. Barnes & Company in 1971 working for such high profile clients as The Discovery Channel, General Motors, Cohoes/Burlington Coat Factory and many more.

Judy was feted with abundant awards and honors including RPI’s Albert Fox Demers Alumni Medal, Rensselaer County Women of Achievement Award for Economic Development, RPI’s Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award and RPI’s Alumni Key Award. She was a member of several community organizations and an active fundraiser for RPI, Russell Sage College, the Arts Center in Troy, the Albany Institute of History and Art, Friends of Washington Park, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and the Albany Medical Center.

An accomplished author, she wrote and published several beautifully illustrated books that dealt with communication including a book of essays, “Good to Be Here,” “Change” and “Kindness.”  In 2004, she co-wrote and produced a short film titled “The Crux.”

Judy had a delight and love for art of all kinds. She was a patron to area arts organizations and celebrated numerous artisans with her purchases. An important mentor, many people say that she changed their lives, touched them, supported and encouraged them. 

Pre-deceased by her parents, her beloved friend Erick James and pet cat Boo, Judy is survived by her sister Jacqueline Barnes.

Judy will be remembered for her larger-than-life personality, hearty laugh and striking streaked silver coiffure.  She is held in loving memory by a vast network of friends and colleagues, especially the Breakfast Club, a group of life-long girlfriends, and in particular Valerie DeLaCruz and Benita Zahn who shepherded her through these last 3 years of her life.

Heartfelt thanks go to her personal aide Eva Cox for her wonderful care and love, as well as all who cared for Judy at the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center, and Community Hospice. They truly do God’s work.

To honor Judy’s generous spirit, donations in Judy's memory may be made to the Judith Barnes Endowed Fellowship at The Sage Colleges, 65 1st Street, Troy, NY 12180, the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, 2256 Burdett Street, Troy 12180 or Community Hospice Foundation, 310 South Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208. A celebration of Judy’s remarkable life will be held Saturday, February 23, 2019 at noon at the Oakwood Cemetery Earl Chapel, 186 Oakwood Avenue, Troy, NY 12182.

Though The Judester has left the building, she made the world a more fabulous and better place while she was here.

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