Obituary: Barbara Whitley


The Schulich School of Music is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Barbara Whitley, a long-time friend and supporter of the School. Dr, Whitley received her BA from McGill University in 1940 and an Honorary Doctorate in Arts in 1992, and was an accomplished actor, philanthropist and volunteer. She had just celebrated her 100th birthday this past April.

In the early 2000s, the Schulich School of Music benefitted greatly from Dr. Whitley's generosity when she supported the creation of the Gertrude Whitley Performance Library, named in memory of her mother. Situated within the Marvin Duchow Music Library in the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, this library offers key resources to the School: with more that 5,500 ensemble scores and parts in its collection, it provides the all music material for the Schulich School of Music large ensembles such as the McGill Symphony Orchestra, the University Chorus and the Jazz Orchestra.

In addition to her involvement with the Schulich School of Music, Dr. Whitley's generous spirit led her to pursue a life-long commitment to helping others. In recognition of her devotion to her community, Dr. Whitely received the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award in 2004, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the McGill University Health Centre in 2016.

Read the full obituary from the Montreal Gazette.

Read more about Dr. Whitley's philanthropic contributions.

(Pictured: Barbara Whitley surrounded by current and former Gertrude Whitley Performance Library librarians Julie Lefebvre, Julia Mason and Erika Kirsch).