WATERLOO | Ed Gallagher Jr., a philanthropist and attorney whose legacy and name is tied to buildings, programs and institutions in the Cedar Valley, died early Sunday morning. He was 89.
Gallagher passed away while surrounded by family at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic where he had been since Wednesday, a family member said Sunday. He reportedly suffered a fall earlier in the week and was hospitalized.
Gallagher, along with his wife, Cathy, who died in 2013, was an advocate for arts, culture and education in the Cedar Valley. The couple were key contributors, along with Carl and Peggy Bluedorn, to construction of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa.
Gallagher, an attorney by profession and a congressional candidate in 1960, also enjoyed singing while Cathy accompanied him on piano. Their love of music and art fueled their support of organizations that advanced those passions in the Cedar Valley.
The Gallaghers also supported UNI athletics and funded a professorship in the name of longtime UNI political science professor and department head Dhirendra Vajpeyi.
The Gallaghers also were strong contributors to Catholic education and established a foundation that awarded scholarships for Cedar Valley students to attend Clarke University and Loras College in Dubuque.
Gallagher co-chaired a fund drive that raised $11.5 million for the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum on the Grout campus in downtown Waterloo. He also served as a board member with Waterloo Development, which focuses on riverfront redevelopment using gaming revenue from the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo.
The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber honored Gallagher last month with its Legacy Award for his work and contributions in the Cedar Valley.
Gallagher served with the U.S. Navy in World War II. He met Cathy while he was attending Loras College. The two married Dec. 29, 1948, while he was attending law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., while Cathy worked at the National Catholic Welfare Conference.
The couple moved to Waterloo in 1950.
Memorial service arrangements are pending.