The death has taken place of Betty Andreas Gallagher, wife of John James ‘Jack’ Gallagher for 62 years.
They hailed from Nescopeck and Shickshinny, Pennsylvania respectively, were long-time residents of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, retired to Deland, Florida in '89 but always revered their Irish ancestry.
Their connection to County Donegal is that Jack was the son, of the son, of a son of Dungloe. To say it in lineage terms, he would have been Jack, Edward, Charlie, Jimmy, Charlie Gallagher of Sheskinarone, Dungloe.
That heritage may seem a bit of a stretch but a ‘Prouder-to-be-Irish American couple’ you will never meet.
Their St Patrick's Day parties were legendary. Planning for one year began the day after the last.
They cooked corned beef and cabbage by the tens of pounds. Their potatoes had to be pure white. Their Emerald Sauce had to be stirred, nonstop, start to finish.
Their dessert table alone could seat four. No one ever left their home the least bit hungry.
Jack and Betty Gallagher, together again forever
As a 50th anniversary-to-be gift they traveled to Ireland and said they were changed by the trip forever. They were able to see most of Ireland by bus in ’99 and boarding the plane for home they said they had a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye; proud to have made the effort.
To know them was to love them. They met in 1949 at her high school when he saw her coming down the front steps.
He knew then he just had to ask her out. Years later he even remembered what she wore; a corduroy jumper.
They were married on November 22, 1952 and other than while he served in the army they were never far apart for long.
They were hand-holders. They were same-siders at dinner. They baked together.
They psuedo-adopted a second daughter also named Karen.
They lectured on the sanctity of marriage at Stetson University. They were Lay Eucharistic Ministers.
They were part of a square-dance troop that toured the eastern seaboard and performed in places like Disney World.
They even waited outside on a bench while the other was at the beauty parlor or barbershop.
He was always ‘The Fun Uncle’. Quick with a joke and a wit that could keep a room on its toes.
She was always the most well-dressed, beautiful lady a young boy could call his Aunt Betty.
Their home was always welcoming. Whether by the bright green front door of their final home, the Kelly-Green carpet of their first Florida home, the Gallagher sign or the leprechaun that hung out front throughout all of March - you always knew an Irish family lived there.
Jack passed on March 12 2015 and if Alzheimer’s hadn’t wrapped her in its chains, many feel Betty would have gladly followed him within a week; they were that close of a couple.
Fortunately, we still have their daughter Karen. She's every bit as pretty and like her mom she's just as beautiful inside as she is out.
She even walks just like him and talks just like her. He called her Bird.
Jack and Betty Gallagher, together again forever.
- Brian Gallagher
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