SARANAC LAKE - William F. Gallagher, IV, 87, of Saranac Lake, passed away peacefully at his home on Nov. 15, 2010 with his beloved wife, Tommie, by his side.
William "Bill" was born on July 25, 1923 in Hempstead, Long Island to his parents William F. Gallagher, III and Ferol Christian Gallagher. His family later moved to Ravena, where Bill graduated from Ravena High School with many athletic and academic awards. He went on to attend Princeton University where he played varsity football and baseball and was named All-Eastern in football.
During his sophomore year of college, with World War II raging, Bill enlisted in the army. He served in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy and received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Upon his return to Princeton in 1946, Bill, who had lost his hearing in combat, went on to play varsity ball for Princeton. After graduation, he was invited to training camp by the New York Yankee Pro Football Team.
In 1952, after receiving his master's in physical education from Columbia University, Bill accepted a teaching and coaching position at Saranac Lake High School.
For more than 40 years, Bill educated and advised young people at Saranac Lake High School. He spent countless hours after school counseling students. To the present day, former students continued to thank him for being such an inspiration to them.
Following his retirement from teaching, Bill developed and participated in a mentoring program for at-risk students at Petrova Elementary School.
Bill coached junior and senior varsity teams at Saranac Lake High School and was later an official for football, basketball, baseball and girls' softball. Bill also coached Pee Wee Hockey and Little League.
While serving as town Athletic Director Bill helped to start free youth ski, skating and swimming programs in the village. For years, Bill would make an ice-skating rink for all the neighborhood kids, getting up at intervals throughout the night to water the rink! During the warmer months, Bill was an active member of the Saranac Lake Golf Club.
Bill Gallagher has been an activist seeking to educate, advise and help his community and world be a more caring, tolerant and peaceful place to live. Through deeds large and small, Bill took his education, experience and social conscience and gave it legs. The following list includes the institutions, organizations, volunteer positions awards and contributions he has made over the years: member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society of St. Bernard's Catholic Church; recipient of the Martin Luther King Award; Crop Walk organizer; President's Youth Service Award, Peace and Justice fundraiser - promoting non-violence and human rights; fundraiser for Bread for the World; baker of hundreds of loaves of bread for many organizations to sell at fundraisers; sponsor of children through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging; contributor to Doctors Without Borders; deliverer of Meals-On-Wheels; fundraiser and contributor to civic organizations including the Saranac Lake Public Library; Winter Olympics volunteer; teacher of English, reading and writing to Haitians held at Ray Brook Prison; Saranac Lake Village Trustee, Harrietstown Councilman and Harrietstown Town Supervisor.
Bill and Tommie had an open door policy at their home and hosted Fresh Air Students, foreign students, visiting clergy and many others.
Bill is survived by his wife of 66 years, Thomasina Swan Gallagher; seven children: Gail Gallagher and her husband Jeremiah Cole of Somerville, Mass. and Saranac Lake, Chip Gallagher and his wife Carol of Boise, Idaho, Felista Gallagher and her husband Skip Murray of Somerville, Mass, Kevin Gallagher of Lexington, Ky., Ann Gallagher of San Diego, Calif., Robert Gallagher and his wife Anita of Boise, Idaho and Beth and her husband Bill Forster of Ausable Forks; five grandchildren: MacKenzie, Tabitha, Katharine, Melina and Jacquelyn; five step-grandchildren: Pete and Mike Murray, Mike Cole and Elizabeth Cole Considine and Tami Vanderman; and nine great-grandchildren: Brendan, Charlotte, Patrick, Regan, Caroline, Annie, Addison, Sol and Ashley.
Calling hours will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A Bible vigil service will take place at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 at St. Bernard's Church with the Rev. Mark Reilly officiating. Following cremation burial will take place in Harrietstown Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Bill requested that people send donations to High Peaks Hospice of Saranac Lake, Bread for the World or Doctors Without Borders. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.