In memory: Janet Gretchen Jones

Janet Gretchen Jones died after a long illness on Sept. 21, in her residence at the Collington Life Care Community in Mitchellville, MD. She was 82.

Janet was born on March 1, 1939. in Pittsburgh, PA, to Arthur and Elizabeth (Betty) Jones and grew up in Vero Beach, FL.

Janet was a leading researcher, administrator, and long-time professor of analytical chemistry. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1961, she earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology in 1967. She served on the faculties of Colorado State University, the University at Buffalo, and North Carolina State University, where she was head of the Department of Chemistry. In 1994, she was named director of the chemistry division at the National Science Foundation. Her decisions helped to guide the research direction of chemistry in the United States until her retirement in 2001.

Janet’s measures of success most important to her were the success of her students; the life-long bonds that she formed with many of them; and the results of her work to increase opportunities for women in the physical sciences.

Personally, Janet had some of her greatest happiness in the last 20 years of her life. She met Chris Cobb in the early 2000s and they were married on April 10, 2010, as soon as it was legal where they lived in Washington, DC. Janet and Chris were committed to philanthropy and established the Comis Foundation in 2002, focusing on giving to enhance the lives of children and youth.

Her beloved Chris died in 2018. She is survived by her daughter Anne (Doug) Walter, her son, Adam Osteryoung, and her two beloved grandsons, Owen and Luke Walter, as well as her brother, Tom (Lorraine) Jones, her three stepdaughters and their families, and nieces, cousins, and countless friends. Her fierceness, intellect, curiosity, humor, love of music and literature, trees and plants will be missed by all who knew and continue to love her.