Margaret C. Gallagher’s Obituary
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Margaret (Peggy) Gallagher, 92, of Elmira, NY, passed away on May 1, 2019. Born on January 21, 1927, the daughter of Charles and Mary Crossed of Elmira, Peg was the cherished wife of 67 years of William A. Gallagher who died on November 16, 2016. Peg is survived by her sisters: Rosemary C. Morris of Toano, VA and Donna C. Layng of Winston-Salem, NC; her brothers: Charles (Kathleen) Crossed of Bowie, MD and Richard (Carol) Crossed of Rochester, NY and brother-in-law William Danaher of Horseheads. Peg is also survived by 26 nieces and nephews. Peg graduated from Elmira Catholic High School in 1944 where she was editor of the school yearbook. She immediately began work as a feature writer for the Elmira Star-Gazette and met her future husband there. Bill was a salesman in the Advertising Department and after their marriage in 1949, they moved to Kent, Ohio for Bill to complete his bachelor’s degree at Kent State University. Peg continued reporting for the Kent Courier Tribune and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Recalling some of her first duties at the Star-Gazette, Peg remembered filling the paste pots that reporters used to edit stories…a task that was a far cry from the talent she exhibited in later years, winning among other awards, first prize from the New York State Associated Press for conducting the first interview with an American hostage who had been held in Iran in 1981. Peg was one of the first reporters to go through the sound barrier in a fighter jet. Her adventuresome spirit led her to ski blind and write a story on the experience. She also fired an arsenal of the latest police weapons at the Criminal Justice Program at Corning Community College and flew in an Air Force Aerobatics Show, to mention a few of her challenging accomplishments. Some of the celebrities Peg interviewed in her 35-year reporting career include: Violeta de Chamorro, known as the First Lady of Nicaragua; His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama of Tibet; and Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass) the former Harvard professor who was associated with Dr. Timothy Leary in his early experiments with LSD. Throughout her newspaper career, Peg was a frequent “stringer” writing stories and taking photos for the New York Times. Typical of Peg’s dedication to journalism, while she and Bill were on a flight to Puerto Rico in 1969, their Eastern Airline jet was hijacked to Havana, Cuba. The hijacker confiscated her camera and Peg refused to leave the plane until she got her camera back. Eventually, they were released and able to continue on to their destination of vacationing in Puerto Rico. Although Peg and Bill had no children of their own, they were committed to the family and were always available for Peg’s siblings and nieces and nephews who enjoyed countless trips on a hot evening to their favorite ice cream shop in Pine City, boating at Seneca Lake, sailplane rides at Harris Hill and always, Sunday mornings at mom and pop Crossed’s on Walnut St. Peg and Bill were avid supporters and regularly attended services at Mount Saviour Monastery in Pine City where they had a home they loved for most of their married life. In addition to flying sailplanes, they were enthusiastic skiers and bicycled throughout the Northeast. Peg retired in 1990 but that wasn’t the end of her writing days. She co-authored “American History Series: Chemung County” which was released by the Chemung County Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce. Nor was it the end of her adventures. In 1999 at the age of 72, she joined a Geographic Expeditions trekking trip to Bhutan, one of her youthful dreams. As she noted in her trip journal: “It was a miracle that I made it up that first pass, even with my walking stick. My cold had gotten worse and fluid filled my lungs. While it was only nine miles, the altitude was 12,700 feet.” Of course, she made it to the top and chronicled the trek with a colorful description of the journey and amazing photos of life in Bhutan for front page of the Life section of The Star-Gazette. The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at the Chemung County Nursing Facility for their dedicated, friendly and caring services. In lieu of flowers, please consider a remembrance in Peg’s name to the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation or a charity of your choice. There will be a Mass of Celebration of Peg’s life at Ss. Peter and Paul Church on Wednesday, June 19th at 11 a.m.