Thomas Frank Gallagher, of Shelbyville, died on April 27, 2022, at his home in Shelbyville. He was 84.
He was born on January 26, 1938, to the late Victor and Opal (Kinsey) Gallagher and grew up on his family’s farm east of Shelbyville with them and his two brothers, the late David Gallagher and Robert Gallagher, now of Memphis, Tenn. A faith-filled Catholic throughout his life, Tom was a member in his youth of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County and for the rest of his life of St. Joseph Parish in Shelbyville, where he served on its parish council and did much for decades to support that faith community and its school.
On November 28, 1964, Tom married the love of his life, Debbi Phillips of Rushville. She preceded him in death. They enjoyed more than 50 years of married life in Shelbyville where they became the parents of Kelly Gallagher-Kiley of Clinton, S.C., Colleen Gallagher, who preceded him in death, and Sean Gallagher of Indianapolis. He is also survived by Kelly’s husband, Patrick Kiley, Sean’s wife, Cindy Gallagher, his grandchildren who brought him so much joy—Gavin and Anna Kiley, and Michael, Raphael, Victor, Philip and Colin Gallagher—as well as his many beloved nieces and nephews.
A 1957 graduate of Shelbyville High School, Tom took his love of automobiles and made it the work of his adult life, serving for several decades as a claims adjuster and appraiser for three insurance companies and later as a body shop manager.
As a young adult, Tom served the broader community as a member of the Indiana Army National Guard and as president of the of the Shelby County Young Democrats. In 1976, he was elected an at-large member of the City of Shelbyville Common Council and served on it for one four-year term. Tom also later served as president of Shelbyville Municipal Airport Board of Commissioners.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Tom learned how to make stained glass pieces. It was a hobby that added much to his life and which he shared by teaching the craft to others. His work is currently on display in the Major Hospital Chapel and St. Joseph Church, both in Shelbyville.
Tom’s love of God’s creation and in tending it led to him becoming a master gardener certified through Purdue University’s master gardener program. Playing golf was also a way for him to spend time outdoors. In this, he spent time with many beloved friends, including Tom Toll and Don Mueller.
A special thanks is given to Cindy Gallagher, the many doctors and nurses who cared for him for the many years in which he battled cancer and for the staff of Suburban Hospice for cared for him in his final days.
Visitation will be from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 29, 2022, at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville, with the Rosary and a time to share stories about Tom beginning at 3:30 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 125 E. Broadway St. in Shelbyville. Father Michael Keucher, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, will be the principal celebrant.
Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be sent to St. Joseph School, 127 E Broadway, Shelbyville, IN 46176.
Online condolences may be shared with Tom’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.