A Tribute to Jim & Carol Gallagher - 27 East

Sag Harbor Express

A Tribute to Jim & Carol Gallagher

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Jim Gallagher

Jim Gallagher

Carol Gallagher

Carol Gallagher

authorStaff Writer on Feb 1, 2023

Jim Gallagher (November 1935-February 2022) was a prince among men. A gentle giant. In a world where there are more fences than open spaces, Jim was always welcoming...ready with a big smile...to lend a hand...to check in on a neighbor, to offer a beer on the porch...or a calm presence to listen.

His wife. Carol, who passed away on October 7th, was the unofficial town mayor. She never forgot a birthday, with gifts like the small pocket charm I treasure, marked by her essential message: A true friend is the greatest of all blessings.

I came to Sag Harbor in the 1990s, at the suggestion of a friend who had moved to town from the city.  I bought my dream house, a cedar-sided salt box on Dartmouth Road. My home’s architecture reminded me of Nantucket, and I began to study historical colors, American antiques, and colonial mismatched wood furniture.  Canio’s and Sage Street Antiques were my weekend haunts.  

One day, a knock at the door turned out to be my next-door neighbor Jim Gallagher, who had noticed my car lights were on.   I’d never officially met him, and thanked him profusely.

Over the next few months, I saw Jim in his yard, keeping his lawn meticulous, Carol’s flower pots watered and his deck power washed. I always heard cheerful chatter on his front porch.

And then came the day when my insurance agent called me to say he was in the neighborhood, inspecting his properties and he could see water spilling over my balcony into the bottom level. A bad case of frozen pipes. 

Jim, who by then had a key to the house, ran over immediately.  He called me quickly to tell me there was 8 1/2 feet of water in the basement.  He rallied the Fire Chief to pump it out. And by the time I was able to get out there, he and Carol had laid out my soaked art work and books and anything else salvageable to dry out on cloth throughout the house.

And so Jim became my house guardian, without me even having to ask.   When I was in the city, he would stop in, look around, check that the lights were off and the heat was working. I later found out he kept a diary of all his house visits, noting dates, times, if anything was out of place, or if he made any adjustments.

Jim and his Carol had moved to Sag Harbor after many years in Brooklyn, with weekend visits to her dad’s house on Cornell Road.  Carol inherited the house after her dad died, and when Jim retired, they made Sag Harbor their home.   The Gallaghers loved Sag Harbor.   They told me that Redwood was originally a bird sanctuary, and the peace and quiet was something they loved.

There was always a place on Jim and Carol’s porch  when friends came to visit,  and a dinner invitation was readily extended.   

To say they were the best neighbors possible, would be a huge understatement.  If there were more Gallaghers, the world would be a much better place.  

— Linda Lipman

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