Chandler Funeral Homes & Crematory Logo

302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

James J. Gallagher, Sr.

James J. Gallagher, Sr., age 95, passed away on March 15, 2023.

Jim was born at home on 23rd Street in Fairmount, Philadelphia in 1928 to Mary (Rowland) and John Gallagher. He began his devotion to the Catholic Church when he was baptized at St Francis Xavier Church in Philadelphia. He was the second of 6 children born to Mary who died when Jim was only 10 years old. His father remarried and he and his second wife, Agnes had 5 more children. Jim is survived by his sister Kathleen LaTerza and 4 half-siblings.

Jim shared fond memories of growing up in Fairmount – sledding, exploring the park’s caves and adventurous boys’ activities with his brother, Jack. He and Jack (who predeceased Jim) shared a special bond into adulthood, particularly as fans of Notre Dame football.

He was a proud graduate of South Catholic High School. He worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard before starting his career with the United States Postal Service. He enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII, serving from 1-4-1946 to 11-5-1947. Jim then reenlisted during the Korean War and served from 8-26-1952 to 6-25-1954.

Jim served on the USS Hanna (DE-449). The ship was tragically torpedoed during his service. Jim received the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal (2 Stars), and the United Nations Service Medal.

During this time, Jim met Mary Agnes Donnelly at a graduation party at Saint Joseph’s College. They married on July 18, 1953 and shortly after Jim’s discharge from the USN, their first child was born in August, 1954. They lived in the Kensington section of Philadelphia for 3 months with their daughter and then bought a row home in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. The small family soon grew and within the next 11 years, 6 more children were born – first a son, then 4 daughters and then another son. The home was crowded and sometimes chaotic but always filled with love and laughter.

Jim was a devout Roman Catholic who loved the Lord. He was a member of Saint Timothy’s Parish in Philadelphia for 50 years. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. Jim also served the church as a Eucharistic Minister. He raised his family in the love of Jesus and the church as well. He was a shining example of his faith throughout his life.
Jim also loved the seashore. He reminisced about being a “shoobie” during his younger years. This was a person who took the train down to the shore from Philadelphia with lunch in a shoebox. From this early introduction, Jim began to love saltwater fishing – surf fishing and deep sea fishing. He often took his children on fishing trips with him. Jim also made sure that every summer, he took the growing family for a 2 week vacation in North Wildwood, NJ. where the family often vacationed with the Donnelly and Gallagher cousins.

As years flew by, Jim was promoted to Manager in the USPS, worked very hard and was able to retire in 1984 after 37 years of combined service (USN & USPS). Retirement allowed Jim to pursue more of his hobbies – fishing of course, but he also learned to ski and took up golf more frequently with friends.

In 2004, Jim and Mary moved from their Tackawanna St home to Lake Placid, Florida. They thoroughly enjoyed the years there. They made many new friends and enjoyed the social activities in the Tomoka Heights Community. They also were active in their St James Church community.

In 2018, Jim and Mary made the move “back North” to be closer to family. They moved to Foulk Living in Wilmington, DE. The Foulk Living staff were very caring and kind to Jim during his 4.5 years living there.

Jim is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 69 years Mary Agnes Gallagher (nee Donnelly), his daughters Christine Massey (William), Mary Theresa Caputo (Louis), Ellen Gallagher-Goff (Thomas), Carolyn Moffa (Thomas), Kathleen Curran (Wallace), and his son Joseph Gallagher (Kris Kennedy). His son, James Gallagher, Jr predeceased him. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. A great granddaughter predeceased him.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital at

Funeral Services

Viewing will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 starting at 10:00AM at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 4701 Weldin Rd., Wilmington DE 19803. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00AM.

Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA


    Alison Citino writes,
    We were so lucky to have my Grandpop for so many years. I have so many beautiful and funny memories with him. Some of my most cherished memories of my life are spending summers in Cape May with my Grandparents. I was so blessed to have him, we all were. He will be so very missed.
    03/17/2023 05:30 pm
    Wallace and Kathleen Curran lit a candle and writes,
    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Dad. We love you!
    03/17/2023 05:50 pm
    Ellen Gallagher-Goff writes,
    Missing you, Dad, on this St. Patrick’s Day, but taking comfort in knowing that you are finally reunited with your big brother and your beloved mom ❤️☘️❤️☘️
    03/17/2023 07:56 pm
    Christine Massey lit a candle and writes,
    Dad, I have so many memories of you but one I have held close for most of my life are the times you took me night surf fishing with you to Barnegat Light. I started to love lighthouses because of those trips. Every time I have seen a lighthouse since, I’ve thought of you. I will continue to treasure those memories of surf fishing and smile each time I see a lighthouse.
    03/17/2023 09:51 pm
    Kathleen La Terza writes,
    I will miss you Jimmy but some wonderful memories will sustain me. When you took me and Joe to Atlantic City on the train for a day trip and a swim in the ocean. When you took me to see the movie The Third Man Theme at the Ideal we used to call it The Ideal Dump. When you would come home in your Navy uniform. You were so handsome. I know that Mom and Dad and Jack and Jane and Marie and Joe are with you now.Rest in Peace My Big Brother.🙏❤️☘️Love You ❤️
    03/18/2023 11:30 am
    Kathleen LaTerza lit a candle
    03/18/2023 11:33 am
    Margaret Gallagher Sloan
    03/20/2023 06:52 pm
    Margaret M Sloan lit a candle and writes,
    My Dear Mary and family, One of my earliest memory of Jim is his steadfast studying for the Post Office exam. He spent hours and hours working on what he referred to as his scheme. We as children would sometimes out of curiosity ask him how that box with so many small boxes worked. Jim very patiently explained it was how the US Post Office sorted mail only with very large boxes much bigger than the one he had to work with. There was great excitement in the family when Jim passed the “Test” we cheered. I believe the 3 of us learned so much about studying hard from our big brother Jim. Jim was truly loved and an inspiration to Pat, Nancy and I. We remember him as a gentle and loving brother. My deepest sympathy and all love to you Mary and your entire family, Margaret Gallagher Sloan
    03/20/2023 07:09 pm
    Matthew Donnelly lit a candle and writes,
    Rest In Peace Uncle Jim. Prayers for the family.🙏🏻🙏🏻
    03/21/2023 08:47 pm
    Rose Arkhurst-Mensah writes,
    My condolences to you and your family Rose
    03/22/2023 11:53 am

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

When you "Light a Candle" the candle image is posted with your condolence.

Thank You

Your online condolence will appear once approved by our site administrator.