Cover photo for Harry Gallagher's Obituary
Harry Gallagher Profile Photo
1932 Harry Gallagher 2024

Harry Gallagher

March 1, 1932 — March 27, 2024

Prairie Village

Harry Gallagher was born in Lawrence, KS, on March 1, 1932, to Margaret and Harry Gallagher, Sr., of Tonganoxie, KS. He passed away March 27, 2024.
 
 Harry was always a force in his community, beginning as a youngster throwing papers in Tonganoxie during WWII. He graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 1950 and immediately joined the US Air Force, serving as an airborne radio operator, weight and balance technician, and load master, serving in the American Zone of Occupation in Germany during the Korean War from 1951 through 1954. His duties included monitoring Morse Code radio transmissions of the Russian and German militaries, identifying aircraft in European airspace, and providing radio communications for Army maneuvers. His crew also occasionally provided safe flights for international leaders, including Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was the Shah of Iran at that time. Decades later, Harry loved vacationing with his Air Force buddies and sharing stories of their missions and extracurricular exploits.
 
 He was hired by the Kansas City Police Department as an officer in 1954 and, later, as a detective in the Burglary Bureau. He was assigned to the toughest districts of the time and dealt with many organized crime figures, but also befriended many of the citizens in his district. He was proud to have escorted former President Harry Truman to events in Kansas City after President and Mrs. Truman returned to the area after his Presidency.
 
 At the same time, he attended the University of Kansas City, graduating in 1960 with a degree in history and government.
 
 He was married to Colleen Wall from 1955 to 1974 and had seven children, Harry Gallagher, III, Jeanne Gallagher Thomas, Patrick Gallagher (Kim Singleton), Peggy Gallagher Lamb, Penny Gallagher Mueller (deceased), Maureen Gallagher Zupon (Jeff), and Sean Gallagher.
 
 As a member of the US Air Force Reserves, Harry was recalled to active duty for the Second Berlin Crisis in 1960. He served as air crew on a C-124 aircraft transporting cargo and personnel all over North and South America. During this deployment, the Air Force featured Harry and two other airmen in a promotional film showcasing the opportunities to serve the United States.
 
 In 1961, Harry joined the Aetna Casualty and Surety Company as a claim representative and then supervisor. He very much enjoyed working with his clients, including acclaimed artist Thomas Hart Benton and his wife, Rita, with whom he developed a friendship when Mr. Benton had paintings stolen from his studio.
 
 Harry enjoyed many friendships with professional football players in Kansas City, including members of the 1969 Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. It was very special to him when players would toss footballs with his children and other kids in the neighborhood.
 
 During that time, he became active in Kansas City politics, managing numerous political campaigns, including the mayoral campaign of Dr. Charles Wheeler in 1971. Harry was elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives in 1972, where he was Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economics for Zero Based Budgeting. He also was a member of the Elections, Insurance, and Local Government Committee, a member of the Subcommittee on Insurance-No Fault, and a member of the Subcommittee on Appropriations-Insurance Program for Higher Education Institutions. After he left elected office, he became the Executive Assistant for Jackson County Executive Mike White in 1975, specializing in legislative affairs.
 
 As businesses came to Harry wanting his advice for passing legislation in the Missouri General Assembly, he gradually built what would become Gallagher Consultants, among the first independent lobbying firms in Jefferson City. He built a robust lobbying practice that enjoyed tremendous success over 45 years. He was involved in nearly every major piece of legislation in Missouri during those decades, launched many careers of political consultants, and advised many senior elected officials, including every Governor of the State of Missouri. He chaired the Missouri Insurance Coalition Legislative Committee for many years, was the President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Missouri for several decades; and represented 30 to 50 clients every year, including the Missouri Press Association, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Missouri Society of Accountants, the Missouri Financial Services Association, the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, the Golden Rule Insurance Company, and the 3M Corporation. He was gifted as a businessman.
 
 He married Karen Bonner in 1988 and they were blessed with two sons, Benjamin Gallagher (fiancée Ashleigh) and Edward Gallagher (Elizabeth), in 1994. They had many happy times together at their lake house, traveling, cheering on the Mizzou football team, growing flowers, grilling with Gallagher Sauce, and treating people to Harry’s signature jalapeño cheese grits.
 
 In 2011, Harry gifted the property where his childhood home had stood to the City of Tonganoxie and created Gallagher Park in his parents’ honor across from the swimming pool where he lifeguarded as a teenager. In his later years, the creation of Gallagher Park was one of his proudest accomplishments to honor his mother, Margaret, who treated anyone who showed up at her table like they were family.
 
 Harry was a life member and Past Commander, American Legion Post 340; life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; member of the Richards Gebaur Air Force Base Community Council; and proud supporter of the Disabled American Veterans and other veterans charities. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce in South Kansas City, Raytown, and Jefferson City. Harry served on the Jackson County Charter Transition Commission and the Kansas City Bicentennial Commission.
 
 After working 12-hour days until he was 85 years old, Harry sold Gallagher Consultants in 2018 to the Lathrop GPM firm and became Chairman Emeritus of Lathrop GPM Consulting, LLC.
 
 He was always reading a newspaper, listening to great music, enjoying home cooking, playing the trumpet and the stock market, mixing scotch and college football, polishing a pair of leather shoes, telling jokes, and laughing about the good old days. He was always eating cookies.
 
 Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Harry Gallagher, Sr., by his daughter, Penny Gallagher Mueller, and by his brothers, Bob Gallagher, Larry Gallagher, and Jim Gallagher.
 
 Harry is survived by his loving wife, Karen, and his children, Harry III, Jeanne, Patrick, Peggy, Maureen, Sean, Ben, and Ted, and more than 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
 
 Visitation will be at 12:00 pm with the Celebration of Life service at 1:00 on Monday, April 1, at Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO. Burial will follow at Johnson County Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf, Overland Park, KS.
 
 Memorial gifts can be directed to the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society, PO Box 785, Tonganoxie, KS, 66086-0785.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harry Gallagher, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, April 1, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Country Club Christian Church

6101 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64113

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Monday, April 1, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Country Club Christian Church

6101 Ward Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64113

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service With Military Honors

Monday, April 1, 2024

2:30 - 2:45 pm (Central time)

Johnson County Memorial Gardens

11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 1595

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree