Mary Moriarty Galvani

  • Visitation: Private 

  • Location: O'Connell Funeral Home 
    30 Little Plains Road. Southampton
  • Memorial Service: Sacred Hearts Catholic Church in Southampton 
    Saturday, June 25th  at 10:00 am.
  • Service Type: Public

  • Biography

    Born: March 30, 1915
    Died: June 17, 2011
    Age: 96



    Galvani, Mary Moriarty.  

    Died at the rich, full age of 96 from an aortic aneurysm on June 17, 2011. Born March 30, 1915 in Shakopee, Minnesota to Judge Joseph J. and Margaret Henrietta Moriarty, she was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband Vincent J. Galvani, her sister Dr. Harriet Burns, and three brothers Mannix, Louis, and Patrick Moriarty.  

    Mary Galvani graduated from the Medical School of the University of Minnesota in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science in medical technology during the depths of the depression.  Always encouraged by her father (a renowned Minnesota Judge) and her mother (an early 1900's graduate of Moorehead Normal school, a teacher, and one of the first presidents of the Minnesota League of Women Voters) to confront challenges in a gender-blind manner , Mary upon graduation moved to Bakersfield, California to work as a medical technologist.  After World War II broke out in Europe, she moved to the Chicago area and became a bacteriologist in the Michael Reese Research Institute, where she was the only female among the 140 chemists working at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant in Indiana.  There she met her husband, Vincent  J. Galvani, who was then the chief chemist at the Kingsbury facility and was later commissioned for military service and involvement with The Manhattan Project, where he was instrumental in developing the triggering mechanism for the deliverance of the atomic bomb.  In 1949, she settled with her husband and family in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

    After raising her children in St. Paul with the same ethic as her parents', she continued her trailblazing in 1967, long before the Women's Lib Movement of the 1960's was well-defined, by responding to a "Help Wanted: Male" classified ad searching for a chief bacteriologist at the St. Paul Water Department.  As reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press feature at the time, she reasoned, "It didn't say a woman need not apply.  So I did."  As the highest ranking candidate interviewed at the Civil Service Bureau, she won the job and became the only woman at the City's Waterworks Filtration Plant.  There she patented a process and media for the speciation of strep, which became a much-cited patent in the investigation of e-coli contamination, and has led to the saving of many lives.  

    Upon retirement Mary moved to Southampton NY and later to New York City to enjoy her grandchildren and imbue yet another generation with the Moriarty Minnesota ethic.  There she lived until her death.  Mrs. Galvani was also an avid collector of Chinese and Korean porcelains and she instructed classes in their beauty and authenticity.  

    She is survived by: her son Patrick of Chicago IL, her two daughters, Ann Galvani, Esq.,  formerly of Scarsdale NY and now of Palm Beach FL, and Gail Bell, an actor, of New York City, and her son-in-law, David Bell, who was like a son to her; five grandchildren: Dr. Alison Galvani (a Yale professor and renowned epidemiologist), Amy Schneiderman (a contemporary artist), Jason Tyler (NYU law graduate), Ashley Bell (an opera soprano), and Andrew Bell (a graduate student at the Columbia School of Journalism); three great grandchildren: Sarah, Evan, and Emily Galvani-Townsend; and many dear nieces and nephews.

    A Memorial Mass will be held Sacred Hearts Catholic Church in Southampton NY on Saturday, June 25, at 10:00 am. 

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