Cover photo for Thomas B. Gallagher's Obituary
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1938 Thomas 2024

Thomas B. Gallagher

November 15, 1938 — February 15, 2024

Lancaster

Thomas Bernard Gallagher, age 85, of Lancaster, formerly of Oviedo, FL and Santa Barbara, CA, passed away on Thursday, February 15, 2024, at Lancaster Health Services, Lancaster.

Tom was born November 15, 1938, in Rockford, IL to James Gallagher and Emma (Aument) Gallagher. He attended St. James Elementary School, St. Thomas High School, and East High School.  When not in school, you could find him in the billiards room across the street from his home.  His father and mother gave him a note to allow him to play with the stipulation that he keep his grades high.  This love of playing pool continued through his life when he played professionally.  

He married Rachel Rae Reedy on December 11, 1954. They were blessed with two children: Tom and Georgia.

Tom began his working career as a typewriter repairman in Rockford, IL.

In 1962, Tom was drafted into the U.S. Army.  He served in Germany where he was noted for his marksmanship skills and selected to be on the Colonel’s competitive marksmanship team. Upon discharge from military service, Tom joined the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department where he attained the highest recruit training score ever achieved in the department at that time.  

Later, Tom was appointed as the Aviation Director at Santa Barbara Airport where he became good friends with John Travolta.  He was an accomplished pilot who flew many trips to Mexico with surgeons and dentists conducting medical missions.  Tom was a skilled competitive sky diver, winning numerous awards and became an instructor teaching many students in his private skydiving school.  Tom developed and taught a course to teach anyone to take controls of an aircraft in the case of a disabled pilot.  

He was a competitive pool player having beaten three world champions and was inducted into the Santa Barbara Billiards Hall of Fame.  For many years, Tom made his living playing as well as teaching and coaching poker, blackjack, and craps.  Thomas also invented and patented a game of chance called “Lucky 33.”

Thomas Gallagher affectionately known as “Grandad Tom”, is survived by his son, Tom (Cindy), daughter, Georgia (Keith); Brother, Gerald (Sandy) Gallagher, Castle Rock, CO; 7 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren. 

Tom was preceded in death by his parents: James Patrick Gallagher and Emma, nee Aument, Gallagher; Brothers: Richard, James, Charles and Sisters: Rosella, Betty, and Joanne; a grandson James Govier.

Tom will especially be remembered for his kind and caring personality and fiery spirit.  He passed down his competitive nature with his kids which always made for a good time. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Clement Catholic Church in Lancaster with Father Mark Miller officiating.  Visitation will be held on Wednesday, from 10:30 a.m. until time of services at the church.  Lunch will follow in the church basement, with burial and military honors to follow the lunch at Mt. Zion Cemetery, Mt. Ida Township.  Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Lancaster is entrusted with is care. 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Mass

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Burial with Military Honors

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

1:15 - 2:15 pm (Central time)

Mt. Zion Church Cemetery

WI

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