Wall Street Journal editor in chief Matt Murray sent out the following on Friday:
I’m sorry to share the sad news that our colleague, Josh Barbanel passed away early this morning. Josh died peacefully at his New York City home, with his wife, three children and daughter-in-law at his side. He had been fighting colon cancer for more than a year.
Josh, who was 68, was a true-blue reporter for nearly half a century. He was first hired by The New York Times in 1977. In 2010, he was one of the first hires for The Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section, where he primarily covered the city’s residential real estate market.
As those who worked alongside Josh can attest, it would be hard to imagine him in any other profession. He loved digging into and splicing data, gabbing with and grilling sources, and writing tales about extravagant real estate deals or industry malfeasance. He was a walking encyclopedia on the subject of New York real estate, and as so many of us know, a delightful colleague and newsroom presence.
Josh reveled in finding human interest gems, like the story of the Nepalese butler at the Dakota, the famed Manhattan residential building, who inherited two apartments from a celebrated actress. He showed the same drive and persistence getting to the office, riding his bike to work every day, and getting back on it even after the occasional bump or dislocated shoulder.
Anemona Hartocollis, Josh’s wife, shares that there will be a graveside service on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Mount Moriah Cemetery, 685 Fairview Avenue, Fairview, N.J. The family will be sitting shiva in the days after that. If you’d like to make a donation in his memory, Josh’s favored causes included the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece.
I know all of us share in the sorrow and prayers of the Barbanel family, and we are all profoundly grateful to them for sharing the talented and wonderfully spirited Josh with all of us.