MISSOULA – Daniel O’Neil Gallagher, 69, of Missoula passed away on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, of heart failure.
He was born on Aug. 16, 1947 in St. Ignatius to Frank and Mabel Gallagher. The last of 13 children, he was raised on a farm in Charlo.
Having grown up in a family that believed in serving their country in time of need, he enlisted in the Army shortly after finishing high school to serve in Vietnam. He was in the Army from Jan. 12, 1966, through Jan. 10, 1969. He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant in Vietnam’s Central Highland (November 1966 through December 1967).
After his tour of duty and honorable discharge from the military, he returned to Montana and married Marcia Phillips of Missoula on Jan. 31, 1970. Together they raised five children. They later divorced.
He attended the University of Montana and received bachelor's degrees in history, political science, education and journalism. He then went on to receive a law degree.
He was diagnosed with PTSD after Vietnam, which inspired him to become an advocate for veterans’ rights and well-being. This is a cause to which he devoted the rest of his life.
He had a love of words, writing poetry, reading, and engaging in intellectual debates. He also loved teaching, listening to speeches by notable historic figures (John F. Kennedy, in particular), listening to old radio personalities such as Orson Welles, and watching the Andy Griffith Show. He took immense pride in his children, writing, and his farm.
In 2012 he was the recipient of the Jeannette Rankin Peacemaker Award. Shortly after, he was featured in “Beyond The Divide,” a film showcasing the differences and connections between combat veterans and the peace movement. This created new friendships and incredible relationships with members of the peace community, most significantly Betsy Mulligan-Dague and Jan Selby.
He is survived by all five of his children, Patrick and wife Chris, Kerry, Colin and wife Dana, Brian and fiancée Jessica and Erin and fiancé, Dakota; four sisters, Ethel, Rita, Tish, and Fran; one brother Ed; nine grandchildren, Nick, Greg, Kiley, Ryan, Aidan, Hailey, Triston, Noah, and Kian; and one great-grandchild, Haleigh.
A vigil will be held in Missoula at Christ the King Church on Monday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m. with viewing at 6 p.m. Funeral services will be conducted in Charlo at St. Joseph Parish on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 10 a.m. with viewing at 9:30 a.m. A memorial and celebration of life will be held in Missoula at the Loyola Sacred Heart Auditorium on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. Flowers can be sent to Garden City Funeral Home.