Joseph F. Gallagher, Jr., was called Home on June 12, 2019. In his final days, he was surrounded by the three girls in his life. He lived a fun-filled seventy-three years! He often referred to himself as a jack of all trades, master of none; however, the rest of us referred to him as Joseph, Joe, Joey, Dad, “ The General,” or the oilman, and he will be fondly remembered for his many talents. Two of his talents which his family greatly enjoyed are his storytelling and his gifted singing voice. Joe frequently embellished stories about himself and his beloved family, with his family hanging on to his every word to know how their personal story, which had already taken place and had a different outcome, had occurred during this storytelling session. He was also a talented singer, even though he never had any training. He frequently sang at church events and weddings. He may not have always known all the words, but he gave it his all by frequently practicing his vocals by singing in the shower. Joe who fondly spoke of his younger years and classmates, was a 1963 graduate of Ringtown High School and he was forever reminding us that his graduating class had only 17 students. Joe was known around town as the Gallagher Oil Man, a title which he loved. Joe followed in his father’s footsteps and joined his sister and brother-in-law in running a family home-heating and plumbing business, from which he retired in 2016. Joe was an avid fan of race cars and sponsored local drivers. He was such a fan, that he talked about them until his very last days. Joe was known for his love of Lionel trains, which was instilled in him by his father, and he was an active member of the train show circuit. He was a connoisseur of foods thanks to his mother. He became a lover of Chinese food back in the 1980s, thanks to his daughter Natalie. During his days raising a family, Sundays were spent at the Oasis restaurant in Hazleton until it closed; however, even until his last days, he was known to never turn down Chinese food. Joe greatly enjoyed his wife’s cooking but was a sharp critic and might have even thought of himself as a Michelin restaurant rater. He often provided his three-tiered rating scale, which included “not for me,” “it’s different,” and “excellent,” the latter was hard to come by. He enjoyed sitting on the porch and watching Ringtown’s residents pass by. He easily gained the affection of children because he was still a kid at heart. In his later years, Joe often tuned into the television. He loved watching General Hospital, although he would never admit to knowing the plot since it was a soap opera. He also enjoyed watching Clint Eastwood movies, the Godfather series, and reruns of the Titanic. Joe’s love of singing extends to his appreciation of ‘good music’ to include Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Elvis, and many more – he even subscribed to Sirius radio! He enjoyed meeting his friends for a morning coffee at the local gas station and shooting the breeze.
While he was a simple and no frills-kind of man, he leaves behind a devoted and loving family who will miss him dearly. Joe was married to his loving wife of 40 years, Beverly Gallagher. Her fondest memories of Joe were when he met his two little girls for the first time, whom he cherished and who had him wrapped around their little fingers. His daughter Natalie Zuber (Ringtown), wife of Craig Zuber, will always remember his sweet tooth, his love of her baked goods, and when she had the ‘excellent’ rating bestowed upon her. His daughter Aimee Gallagher (Alexandria, Virginia) and her partner, Christopher Cheung, will always remember her dad’s gratitude of when they were able to tour the D-Day beaches and WWII historical sites, in Normandy, France. Joe was a GrandPaw to three gentle, Pit Bull rescue mixes, Eva, Ricky, and Amel.
Joe is also survived by his sister and business partner, Eileen Bergman and her husband, Bob Bergman (Zion Grove) and their two children, Katie Rentschler (Downingtown) and David Bergman (Orwigsburg). Joe also leaves behind numerous cousins, brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
Joe will join his parents, Mary and Joseph F. Gallagher, Sr., his sister, Mary Gallagher, his niece, Bridget Bergman, and many friends in heaven. Joe is now at peace and we look forward to the day when we can meet him again.
Our family will hold a Celebration of Life Ceremony later this summer, and it will most likely include swiss chocolate almond ice cream, his favorite! In lieu of flowers, our family asks for donations to the Ringtown Area Senior Citizens or St. Paul’s United Church of Christ (Ringtown). And next time you eat Chinese food, watch the Godfather, or hear Eric Clapton, please think of him and smile.
A committal service will he held privately at a later date.