Rev. John E. Gallagher (1927-2021)

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Rev. John E. Gallagher

BOSTON – Rev. John E. Gallagher, age 94, died peacefully on Tuesday, November 9, at Regina Cleri Residence where he thrived encircled by excellent and compassionate care in his last five years before what he would refer to as his “conclusion.”

Born at home in Watertown as the second of five sons to a hard-working plumber and a devout, strong Irish immigrant mother from Galway, John moved with his family to West Concord at the age of 8 and graduated from Concord High School in 1945. He later entered St. John’s Seminary in Brighton and was ordained a priest by Richard Cardinal Cushing in 1959 at Holy Cross Cathedral. He served at St. Cecilia (Ashland), Our Lady of Assumption (Lynnfield), St. Joseph (Medford), Lawrence Memorial Hospital (Medford), Malden Hospital (Malden), Normandy House (Melrose), St. Joseph (Lynn), and St. Louis de France (Lowell) until 1998. He especially enjoyed his time in Lynn in team ministry and as a member of a team that founded My Brother’s Table in 1982 which has continued services to date adapting to many of the challenges of the pandemic. He retired to a 1792 Maine farmhouse that was built by a Revolutionary War ship cabin boy from Marblehead, and he meticulously stewarded this adopted home with his family over the years while opening his doors and his table to a rich variety of friends and neighbors from near and far. A traveler and an adventurer at heart who loved people deeply, he traveled the globe in his retirement saying Mass on cruise ships – and on a special naval Tiger cruise with his older brother and nephew for Sailors and Marines who were returning from Somalia – and made trips for many of his retirement years to celebrate Holy Week with the Passamaquoddy in downeast Maine.

Beloved by multitudes, Fr. John was perceived by many as humble, colorful, funny, quick-witted, grateful, kind-hearted, compassionate – and was a quiet, yet exemplary practitioner of the corporal works of mercy.

Predeceased by Herman J. Gallagher, father; Winifred F. (Garvey) mother; brothers Joseph, Gerald, and Richard (in early childhood); nephew William (Bill). Survived by brother Rev. David F. Gallagher, CSS (Framingham); nephews Joseph (WA), Thomas (CA), Richard Gallagher (CA) and niece Mary Getten (NV); cousins Marie Pabisz (Groveland) and JoAnne Donnellan (Watertown) among other relatives. Visitation hours: Thursday, November 18, 2-4PM, Regina Cleri Residence (vaccinations and facial coverings required). Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, November 19, 10AM, at St. Joseph, Wm Cardinal O’Connell Way, Boston (adjacent to Regina Cleri) followed immediately by committal at St. Patrick Cemetery, Watertown. Memorial Mass: Monday, November 22, 11AM, St. Joseph, 119 Middle St., Farmington, Maine). Donations: My Brother’s Table (soup kitchen), 98 Willow Street, Lynn, MA 01901 ( For directions and guestbook, please visit:

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  1. My family and I having been some of those welcomed to his home and table, we loved and admired him greatly. Men like him are rare but God knew that and kept him around for us for a long time. You are with the angels now, Fr. John.

  2. Fr. John was pivital in my recovery and stayed in touch with me during times of loneliness and personal trials .He is a true walking example of Christian values ,in a time of such ” christian” hypocrisy that has blended with Trumpist poitics. We will miss you and your authenticity as a voice for Christ’s teachings .

  3. It was an honor to know Father John and experience his warmth, kindness, love, and his wonderful humor. He loved going places near and far. While he claimed to not hear very much of a conversation,he would then say something that wonderfully captured the moment and thought. He lives on in all of us who knew him.

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