Thomas ‘Tom’ Gallagher,71, beloved teacher and coach whose career spanned three decades – Southside Daily

Posted: May 17, 2020 at 10:46 pm

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Virginia Beach lost part of its soul with the passing of longtime resident Thomas Tom Gallagher, 71, on Sunday, May 10, 2020.

Growing up in the tenements of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Tom acquired skills that served him well throughout life. He served in Okinawa and was an expert dog handler. ESU and Sarge were the beloved dogs he trained and handled. Tom was also an excellent sharp shooter. A proud veteran with a huge heart, Tom loved his life and his country.

After his time in the service, he attended ODU and began a teaching and coaching career that spanned three decades. Mr. G. taught at both John B. Dey Elementary and Great Neck Middle School touching countless young lives and giving all his students or Rug Rats various nicknames. With his competitive nature, Tom coached the Great Neck Girls Soccer team and was so proud of their multiple city championships.

Tom was a fixture at Wareings Gym from its earliest days. He treasured his time with the 71st Street Anglers, where he served as PREZ for life. As an integral part of the 78th Street Beach Bullies, he was one of the most colorful members.

When Tom met his beloved wife in 1979, he famously told her she didnt look like a Barbara and named her Patti, which is how we all know her today. Together for 40 years Tom and Patti were best friends and true companions. You rarely saw one without the other. He referred to her as my everything. They traveled extensively while hiking, biking and skiing in North America, Europe and Australia, and loving their life of adventures. Tom and Patti were fixtures on the feeder road and dressed up each Christmas as Santa and Mrs. Claus spreading good cheer to both people and dogs with their treats.

In addition to Patti, Tom is also survived by his best friend, Joe Bessette, aka as BoBo, another nickname given by Tom. Other survivors include his aunts, Evelyn and Marie; nephew, Ross, and Lisa Kremers, and their family.

Toms sense of humor, love of life and passion for the Red Sox were well known in Virginia Beach. His voice and presence could fill a room long before he entered. The gym, the beach and the feeder road will all be a little quieter without his booming voice and Boston accent.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date when we can all gather and raise a glass or two to Tom and share the many wonderful Tom stories.

Memorial donations may be made in Toms memory to Spikes K9 Fund for the care of the Working and Retired K9 Community at or the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad at

Share online condolences with the family at Altmeyer Funeral Homes & Crematory.

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Thomas 'Tom' Gallagher,71, beloved teacher and coach whose career spanned three decades - Southside Daily

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May 17th, 2020 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Life Coaching