Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Malta Historical Society]. 7(1979)3(285-286)

Obituary Notice: Professor Joseph Galea

The sudden death of Prof. Guze Galea on 26 March 1978 shocked his innumerable friends including mem­bers of the Historical Society, where he was very active as committee member and vice-president for many years.

Hailing from Qormi, where he was born on 17 July, 1901, Galea showed deep interest in his native town as early as 1925, when he was still a medical student. His publication Il-Knisja ta' Ħal Qormi, 1925, was followed six years later by Storja Qasira ta' l-Ordni Kostantinjan ta' San Ġorġ.

When he turned to novel writing, a field in which he was destined to excel, his themes remained mainly historical: Żmien l-Ispanjoli, 1937; San Ġwann, 1939; Raġel bil-Għaqal, 1943; Meta Nħaraq it-Tejatru, 1946; Id-Dinja Rota, 1966. His historical research produced also interesting short biographies such as Anton Manwel Caruana,  1939; Maurice Magnus: His Stay in Malta, 1943; Il-Kanonku Caruana bħala Diplomatiku, 1947; Coleridge in Malta, 1948; Kittieb Spanjoli f'Malta, 1950.

Folklore was yet another field in which he was well versed, and in fact he gave us accurate studies like The Taglia and the Taċċa, 1962; The Old Flour Mills of Malta, 1963; and particularly Xogħol u Snajja ta' l-Imgħoddi, 1969, which ran into different editions.

His contributions to Melita Historica were always well received. These include: "Malta and the Second World War: A Bibliography", published in the first issue of the journal in 1952; "A Captain of the Port of Malta and a Grand Vizier of Constantinople", [p.286]  IV, 1, 1964; "The Great Siege of Malta from a Turkish Point of View", IV, 2, 1965; "The Quarantine Service and the Lazzaretto of Malta", IV, 3, 1966, and "The Sea Board and Marshes of Qormi", V, 1, 1968.

Numerous medical articles by Professor Galea appeared in Maltese and foreign journals. It is really astonishing that he found enough time to devote to his writings and to attend various committees engaged in social and philanthropic work, when one remembers that for many years he was burdened with a post of great responsibility, that of Chief Government Medical Officer.

Guze Galea was undoubtedly a highly cultured man. He was also a perfect gentleman of the old type, always ready to go out of his way to help other people, whether they were students, old friends, handicapped children or needy persons. To the circle of close friends he was known as Raġel bil-Għaqal, because he managed to be friendly with everybody and never created enemies. He was upright, unselfish and truly philanthropic.

Guze Cardona