Virginia Gallagher, longtime executive administrator of the Daily News and a strong advocate for the Northeast Bronx community, is being remembered.
Gallagher died on December 30. He was 96 years old. A memorial was held in his honor on City Island last month.
Gallagher was an invaluable employee of the News and was active in planning many of the newspaper’s events, including the annual interfaith service and employee breakfast.
He also officiated when the paper hosted prominent dignitaries including Terence Cardinal Cooke, television personality David Frost, and variety show host Ed Sullivan.
Gallagher was also remembered as an important leader in civic affairs. Known to many as “The Unofficial Mayor of City Island,” she was a beloved member of the quaint waterfront community for more than 60 years.
Gallagher served as president of the City Island Civic Association for nearly 20 years and was instrumental in founding the City Island Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the City Island Community Center and the City Island Nautical Museum.
She was also president of the City Island Historical Society.
Her work earned her the 2011 “Women of Distinction” award from State Senator Jeffrey Klein.
Among his other notable achievements was the establishment of Pilot Cove Manor on City Island, a 130-unit housing development for independent seniors, in 1981.
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She was active throughout the borough, serving as chair of Community Boards 10 and 12. Gallagher also served as director of the Bronx Council on the Arts and was a New York City tax commissioner for eight years during the administration of former Mayor Rudy. Giuliani.
Gallagher helped establish the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary and Refuge and was working to save the historic Village of Baychester.
Gallagher was born in the Bronx and earned degrees from Pace University and Cornell University before moving to City Island in 1954.
She began her career at The News in 1943. At the newspaper, she rose from the editorial traffic department to secretary to the newspaper’s director of industrial relations, before being named The News’ first affirmative action officer.
She was preceded in death by her husband Jack Gallagher. She is survived by her brother, John O’Donohue; her nephew; James O’Donohue; many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
A memorial in her honor was held February 28 at St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church on City Island.
Gallagher is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.