Derry lost one of its most popular and respected citizens with the recent passing of James Gallagher - Jimmy - at the age of 91.
Jimmy was first and foremost a devoted family man but his strong community spirit, caring, generous and sociable nature earned him widespread love and affection.
Born in Hamilton Street on January 18th, 1922, Jimmy was well-known throughout the city.
Married to his beloved Tesh for 67 years, they celebrated their wedding anniversary on January 17th this year, the day before his 91st birthday.
The much loved father-of-eight, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away peacefully in Altnagelvin Hospital on January 25th.
The large number of mourners who attended both his wake and the funeral in St Eugene’s Cathedral - where Jimmy and Tesh were united in marriage in 1946 - spoke volumes about the esteem in which he was held.
Jimmy ran the well-known family business, Gallagher Carpets at 11 Sackville Street from 1973 until the mid-1990s.
As well as his commitment to his customers, Jimmy was also a much-valued local employer.
Before learning the ropes as a businessman, Jimmy served in the Irish defence forces where he met his life-long good friend, Paddy Moore, who was also from Derry.
Jimmy had a strong work ethic and was blessed to have always been in employment.
He was a plasterer by trade but showed a keen flair for trade and commerce and was a firm believer in supporting and promoting local business.
His great capacity for interacting with other people stood him in good stead over the years.
He worked for Prudential Insurance and the well-known Cavendish furniture store at Bishop Street in Derry, as well as in Coleraine.
An excellent provider for his family, Jimmy also had the admirable quality of reaching out to assist people less fortunate than himself throughout his life.
He was an active member of St Vincent de Paul and was firmly committed to his local community.
His caring, fair-minded and generous nature, together with his sociable disposition, earned him widespread respect and affection.
He had a great rapport with people and the ability to put them at ease which made it a pleasure to be in his company.
He was fiercely proud of his native city and had a great knowledge of local history which he loved to share with his family and friends.
Jimmy’s greatest love was for his wife, Tesh, his immediate family and also his nephews and nieces.
Jimmy was regarded as the kind of father, uncle and grandfather everyone should have, such was the measure of the man.
If he was asked the secret of his longevity, Jimmy would say it was “the love of his wife”.
Despite his failing health in recent years, Jimmy looked after his family right up until the end. His faith was incredibly strong and he had prepared his loved ones for his passing.
Jimmy is survived by his beloved wife Tesh and their family: Rosaleen, John, Gertie, Eileen, Chris, Hugh, Jim and Elizabeth, as well as the grandchildren, great grandchildren and extended family. May he rest in peace.
Jimmy Gallagher’s Month’s Mind Mass will be celebrated in St Eugene’s Cathedral on Monday, February 25th, at 7.30pm.