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Posted on August 23, 2017 | 10:13 a.m.

Mary Lou Gallagher of Goleta, 1923-2017

Source: Richards Family

In loving memory of Mary Lou Gallagher, memorial services to celebrate her life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 26, 2017, at Goleta Presbyterian Church at 6067 Shirrell Way in Goleta. Pastor Graham Baird will officiate and a reception will follow.

Mary Lou Gallagher was devoted to her family and her church, Goleta Presbyterian Church. (Gallagher family photo)
Mary Lou Gallagher was devoted to her family and her church, Goleta Presbyterian Church. (Gallagher family photo)

Mary Lou passed away on August 17, 2017, after a lengthy illness. She was 94.

Mary Lou was born in rural Henry County, Tennessee, to Marion and Thomas Marion Parkhill on May 18, 1923. She attended Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and received a bachelor’s degree in English.

She taught for a short time at Peabody College before relocating to Santa Barbara, California, in her early 20s. In Santa Barbara, she taught at the Riviera Campus of UC Santa Barbara.

Later, she worked for 20 years for the Santa Barbara County Social Services Department. After arriving in Santa Barbara, she met, fell in love with and married George M. Gallagher, a public accountant, whose family came to Goleta in 1923.

Mary Lou was a strong, determined woman. In 1948, she developed polio while carrying her second child. She was told she would never walk again, but refused to accept the doctor’s diagnosis. As a result of her efforts, she was ambulatory until a stroke deprived her of the ability to walk.

Mary Lou went on to have four more children and proved to be a wonderful Mom. All her children felt personally supported and loved. Mom always had your back.

In 1986, Mom lost her husband of 39 years, George Gallagher, and spent the next 30 years as a widow. During this time, she cared for herself and her home, and entertained the family on special occasions.

Her favorite pastimes included reading, writing stories and entertaining letters, genealogy, cards, lunches with her work mates, and visiting her beloved church.

Survivors include a brother, Thomas Marion Parkhill Jr. of Knoxville, Tennessee; nephew Thomas Marion Parkhill III of Knoxville; three daughters, Janet Rezzonico (Steve), Joan Standridge (Gary) and Ann Richards (Edmund); and two sons, Thomas Gallagher (Rosemary) and Patrick Gallagher (Nancy). Another son, George M. Gallagher, died in 1979.

In addition, there are many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Mary Lou will always be remembered lovingly by her children and their children down the line for her famous cherry surprise and her ability to make each of her relatives and friends feel especially loved.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Mary Lou’s favorite church, Goleta Presbyterian Church, are appreciated.

— Ed Richards


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