Obituary of William M. Gallagher
Cleveland, NY

W. M. Gallagher, Retired County Attorney Dies

Expires Unexpectedly On Christmas Day, December 25, 1951;
In Public Service 40 Years
Decemer 26/27, 1951 Oswego Newspaper

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.

Leading Authority

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 burden.

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.

Staunch Republican

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 this county.

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 his home.

Funeral Friday

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 attend.

Contributed by Joseph at:  <JosephRnsm@aol.com>


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