Dr. Thomas Harris Gallagher passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 25, 2017, at Stone Valley Memory Care in Reno, Nevada. Tom was a fourth generation northern Nevadan, born on June 21, 1925, in Elko to Dr. Harry Morris and Ruth Gedney Gallagher. With the exception of college and military service during World War II, he spent his entire life in Elko.
Tom enlisted in the United States Army upon graduation from Elko High School. During his three years of military service he was assigned to both the 65th and 80th Infantry Divisions and the 10th Mountain Division. After receiving his Honorable Discharge in March of 1946, Tom returned to Nevada where he earned his pre-dental degree from the University of Nevada. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Dorothy Katherine Sewell.
Tom and Dorothy were married on August 31, 1947, subsequently moving to San Francisco where he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons and received his degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery, graduating in July, 1951. They returned to Elko and Tom began his 55-year career in dentistry with his father and brother Morris. While in San Francisco the first two of their sons Michael and Thomas were born; a third son Frank was born in Elko two years after their return.
Tom and Dorothy immediately immersed themselves in community affairs. Tom was named Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Elko Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1960. By this time, he had been President of the Elko Rotary Club, President and Director of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, Commander of the Elko American Legion Post, Director of the Elko Chamber of Commerce and Director of Indian Affairs for the Silver State Stampede among numerous other activities. Governor Grant Sawyer appointed Tom to the Centennial Commission, 1963-64. Both Tom and Dorothy were inducted as University of Nevada Distinguished Nevadans in 2003, an honor shared with Dorothy’s father, J. Harvey Sewell, and Tom’s brother Morris. Tom was honored in 2014, for his 70-year continuous membership in the Elko American Legion Reed – Gregory Post 7.
In addition to his dental career, Tom worked alongside Dorothy and their three sons in the ranching business in Lamoille, Diamond Valley and Pine Valley for two decades, 1959-1979. Ranch responsibilities nurtured a strong family work ethic. As a testimony to the lives of Tom and Dorothy, each of their three sons has been dedicated to community service and accomplishments in private business.
While growing up in Elko, Tom cultivated a special love for shooting, hunting, fishing and skiing. His shooting prowess captured championship wins in the Nevada State trap singles event in 1986, and the Nevada State trap handicap in 1987, at the ages of 61 and 62 respectively. Hunting squirrels became an obsession well into his eighties with his dear friend and fellow pilot Ted McBride, his sons, grandsons and other friends. The Tomera ranches benefited from the elimination of many of these pests. Tom was also a 30 year member of the California Indians clay target shooting organization.
Tom was an avid pilot and also flew well into his eighties. Many of the thousands of hours he logged were spent transporting Dorothy throughout the State as she fulfilled her obligations over twenty-five years of service as a Regent for the University of Nevada System.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, wife of 66 years, Dorothy and brother, Morris. He is survived by sister Gedney Gallagher, his three sons, Mike (Tana), Tom (Bonnie) and Frank (Sally), three granddaughters, Heather Smith (Tobin), Jennifer Johnson (Tyson) and Savannah Streeter, two grandsons, Casey Gallagher (Rachel) and Ryan Gallagher, and four great-grandsons, Cruz, Finn and Trey Smith and Colby Johnson.
The family is grateful for the loving care Tom received while in residence at Stone Valley Care Facility, Reno, to his doctors Louis Bergeron and Ronald Smith, and Deanna Raw, PT. A private Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elko. A public celebration of life will be hosted by the family at 1:00 p.m. on November 25th, 2017 at the Red Lion in Elko. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that honorariums in Dr. Gallagher’s name be directed to the Great Basin College Foundation, Post Office Box 2056, Elko, Nevada 89803 or the Northeastern Nevada Museum, 1515 Idaho Street, Elko, Nevada 89801