William M. Gallagher, 65
active as a lawyer, and in Oswego county public service for 40 years, and
retired county attorney died unexpectedly Tuesday, Christmas Day about
1 P. M. in Oswego hospital. He passed away before Mrs. Gallagher could
reach the hospital from their apartment, 165 West Third street.
Stricken with a heart attack, Sept
20, Mr. Gallagher had been confined to his home but had improved considerably.
His condition took a serious turn recently, however, and he entered Oswego
hospital for treatment 12 days ago.
Born in Cleveland, town of Constantia,
Mr. Gallagher was a son of the late James and Frances Busam Gallagher.
After graduating from Cleveland High school, Mr. Gallagher entered Cornell
University and was graduated in 1907, from Cornell Law school, being admitted
to the Bar the same year. He was associated with his father, a prominent
lawyer at Cleveland, N. Y., during the early years of his practice. Later
Mr. Gallagher’s son F. James Gallagher entered the law firm of Gallagher
& Gallagher, in which three generations of the family actively practiced.
Mr. Gallagher early took an interest
in public affairs, and on Jan. 1, 1910, he assumed office of supervisor
of the town of Constantia, serving four years. Appointed to the office
of county attorney by the Board of Supervisors in 1914, Mr. Gallagher served
six years, leaving in 1920 to become special counsel for the county in
the Fulton tax case, a complicated and long drawnout legal proceeding involving
assessments. Mr. Gallagher returned to the county service Jan. 1, 1930,
and had served continuously since then until April 5, 1951, when he retired
as county attorney, and was appointed legal counsel to the county under
a contract expiring Dec. 1, 1951.
Mr. Gallagher was considered one
of the leading authorities on county and town law, in the State of New
York. His counsel was sought in these matters by State officials and legislators,
as well as by local officials. He was a leading figure in the Association
of County Officers of New York State, and served on the most important
committees of that body, including legislative and welfare. In this service
he had much to do with legislation for revision of county and town law,
also in amendments to the welfare law designed to lower the public welfare
Mr. Gallagher was legal advisor to
all 22 towns of Oswego county, and was always responsive to the almost
innumerable demands made upon him for advice and opinions. He was particularly
well-versed in compilation of budgets and had much to do with recent budget
changes and reforms on the county and town levels. In his long career,
Mr. Gallagher had much to do with changes in the governmental structure
of the county and town. He was a tireless worker, spending long hours at
his office, and being available for consultation at practically all times.
Mr. Gallagher was a personal friend of Governor Dewey and Leutenant Governor
Frank Moore, and many other state officials.
About 15 years ago, Mr. Gallagher
moved to Oswego, to be near his office in the County Building, but retained
his legal residence at Cleveland.
Mr. Gallagher was active in Republican
party affairs in Oswego couty and served as a member of the Oswego Republican
committee from his home district in Constantia, for many years. He also
attended state and judicial conventions of his party as a delegate form
Mr. Gallagher actively practiced
in the courts representing the county and towns in numerous litigated matters,
as well as counsel on important cases. He was respected by jurists and
attorneys throughout this county, and the Fifth Judicial district, and
in the Appellate Courts.
On the personal side Mr. Gallagher
was a kindly , warm-hearted man, and an interesting companion, whose wit
and humor, and fund of reminiscence made him hosts of warm, personal friendships.
Survivors of Mr. Gallagher are his
wife, Mrs. Leona Best Gallagher; one son, F. James Gallagher, Phoenix ,
deputy county treasurer; two daughters, Mrs. Madlyn Firshing, Utica, and
Mrs. Emily Ransom, Cleveland, and two nieces of Mrs. Gallagher, Mrs. Louise
Gilbert, Utica, and Mrs. Leonard Tucker, Syracuse, formerly of Massena,
who were brought up by Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher, also five grandchildren,
and several nieces and nephews.
Member of Oswego County Bar Association,
of which he was first vice-president in 1945, Mr. Gallagher was also an
active member of the New York State Bar Association and the Federation
of the Bar of the Fifth Judicial District. He was also a member of Oswego
Lodge 271 B.P.O. of Elks; also of North Shore Golf Club. He was formerly
a director of the First National Bank, Central Square. Mr. Gallagher was
a communicant of St. Mary’s church, Cleveland, N.y., where his mother was
organist for many years. In Oswego he attended St. Joseph’s church, near
Funeral of Mr. Gallagher will be
held Friday morning at 8:30 a. m. at the John E. Cullinan funeral home,
East Fifth and Mohawk streets, Oswego, proceeding to St. Mary’s Catholic
church, at Cleveland, N.Y. where requiem Mass will be celebrated, followed
by burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Oswego county officials including the
Board of Advisors, also town, city and state officials are expected to