In Memoriam: William F. Gallagher


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was received word of the death May 19, 2001, of retiree William Francis Gallagher at the Royal Megansett Nursing Home in North Falmouth. He was 85.

William "Bill" Gallagher was born September 1, 1915, in Brighton, MA, raised in Somerville and attended grade schools in Massachusetts and California. He was graduated from St. John's Preparatory School in 1934. After spending many summers in Falmouth, Bill moved permanently to town in 1940. He worked for a number of firms in Marshfield, and for Walsh Construction Company at Camp Edwards. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, working as a mechanic for armored units for the Army Corps of Engineers from 1941 to 1946.

Shortly after World War II ended, Bill joined the WHOI staff as a mechanic, working with Stan Fisher and others from 1945 to 1977. During this time he helped develop the fiberglass shop, which he called the "skunk works" because of the smell. Colleagues note that Bill could make anything and could tackle any job, calling him "a real problem solver". His sense of humor and broad interests and knowledge attracted many to the fiberglass shop, where Bill kept a telescope to watch the boats passing through Woods Hole. He retired September 1, 1977, after 32 years of service to the Institution.

A licensed pilot, Bill Gallagher built and operated the Falmouth Airport from 1950 until he sold it in 1985. He was also a dealer for the Beetle Boat Company from 1948 to 1955, and owned the Harbor Boat Livery, where he rented sailboats and gave sailing instruction for more than 50 years. For a time he worked as a dealer for Morris Minor and MG automobiles.

Surviving are his wife, Gloria (Schroeder) Gallagher, of Falmouth; a daughter, Mary E. Gyurcsak of Aberdeen, NC; and several nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Mass will be held Thursday, May 31, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church on Main Street in Falmouth. Burial is private.

Memorial donations may be made to the Falmouth Free Clinic, 419 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA 02540; Friends of Falmouth Dogs, Gifford Street, Falmouth, MA 02540; or People for Cats in Falmouth.


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