Virginia Beach lost part of its soul with the passing of longtime resident Tom Gallagher (age 71) on Sunday May 10th.
Growing up in the tenements of Pawtucket, Rhode Island Tom acquired skills that served him well throughout life. He served in Okinawa and was an expert dog handler. ESU and Sargewere the beloved dogs he trained and handled. Tom was also an excellent sharp shooter. A proud veteran with a huge heart Tom loved his life and his country.
After his time in the service he attended ODU and began a teaching and coaching career that spanned three decades. Mr. G taught at both John B Dey Elementary and Great Neck Middle School touching countless young lives and giving all his students or “Rug Rats” various nicknames. With his competitive nature, Tom coached the Great Neck Girls Soccer team and was so proud of their multiple city championships.
Tom was a fixture at Wareings Gym from its earliest days. He treasured his time with the 71st Street Anglers where he served as PREZ for life. As an integral part of the 78th Street Beach Bullies he was one of the most colorful members.
When Tom met his beloved wife in 1979 he famously told her she didn’t look like a Barbara and named her Patti which is how we all know her today. Together for 40 years Tom and Patti were best friends and true companions. You rarely saw one without the other. He referred to her as “My Everything”. They traveled extensively hiking, biking and skiing in North America, Europe and Australia loving their life of adventures. Tom and Patti were fixtures on the feeder road and dressed up each Christmas as Santa and Mrs. Claus spreading good cheer to both people and dogs with their treats.
In addition to Patti, Tom is also survived by his best friend Joe Bessette aka as BoBo (another nickname given by Tom). Other survivors include his aunts Evelyn and Marie and nephew Ross and Lisa Kremers and their family.
Tom’s sense of humor, love of life and passion for the Red Sox were well known in Virginia Beach. His voice and presence could fill a room long before he entered. The gym, the beach and the feeder road will all be a little quieter without his booming voice and Boston accent.
Memorial donations can be made in Tom’s memory to Spikes K9 Fund for the care of the Working and Retired K9 Community by CLICKING HERE or to the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad by CLICKING HERE .