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Gallagher, Brendan


January 13, 2018

Brendan Gallagher (John) Brendan Gallagher, age 89, returned to his Creator on January 13, 2018 in Tacoma, WA with his loving wife Diane by his side holding his hand. They shared 42 very fulfilling years of marriage. Brendan was the consummate Irishman, husband, son, brother, priest and friend. He was born to parents John and Catherine in May of 1928 in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland as the middle of 9 children. He was ordained at St. John's College, Waterford, Ireland, as a Roman Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Seattle. Arriving in the USA in 1952, he served 20 years in parishes in Seattle, Skagit Valley and Tacoma. He proudly became a US citizen in 1964 and obtained a MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University in 1970. Brendan resigned from active ministry and worked in social services for Pierce County and WA State before retiring in 1995. He continued his priestly ministry, journeying with couples and families, officiating at their weddings and funerals.

He had a passion for all things Irish, an incredible zest for life, loved all those he met and was a very kind and compassionate man of integrity with a strong sense of justice and faith. Brendan was preceded in death by his parents, John and Catherine Gallagher; and siblings: Denis, Mary, Owen, Nora, Fr. Michael and Patrick. He is survived by his wife Diane and siblings, Terry and Sr. Kathleen Gallagher and many dear nieces and nephews in Ireland, England and stateside. A celebration of Brendan's life will be held at St. Leo Catholic Church, (S. 13th and Yakima, Tacoma) February 3, 2018 at 10AM. A reception in the Wm. Bichsel Hall will immediately follow the service. Diane would like to express deep gratitude to family and friends who shared in their journey and in Brendan's joy filled spirit, especially the staff of Pioneer Place Memory Haven, Tacoma, for all their loving and compassionate care the past two years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Neighborhood Clinic (a free urgent care clinic serving those unable to access or afford medical care in our area) at or the WA State Alzheimer's Association at Please leave online condolences at Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 253-572-6003.


I was privileged to be part of the "full house" at St. Leo's Church in Tacoma yesterday as we bid a fond farewell to SEATTLE GROUP founder Brendan Gallagher.  Brendan and Father Joe Kramis convened the first gathering of what was to become The Seattle Group of resigned priests back in February, 1986 with an initial meeting at St. Philomena Church, Des Moines.  Brendan and Diane remained key players for the group over the years including hosting one of our last picnics at their lovely home in North Tacoma.  I first had contact with Brendan as a seminarian when I went up to Sedro Wooley where he was pastor to help conduct a week of "summer catechism".  He was remarkable to me then and in subsequent years for his huge enthusiasm about life and Church.  Later he became part of our group of resigned priests serving as wedding officiants.  Even after the gradual impact of Alzheimers, he remained remarkably upbeat and enthused........especially when he could play his accordion and announce cheerfully that he was "out and about" !!!  Married priest Bob Riler from our group gave a powerful witness to Brendan and Diane as key resources in his own discernment about priesthood and marriage and married priest John Keane saluted Brendan on behalf of the Seattle Irish Community where he is a key  leader.   Father Mike Ryan, Cathedral pastor, shared Brendan's role in his vocation thanks to the time Brendan served as curate at St. Anne's, Seattle.  7 "active" priests concelebrated the Mass and were joined by over a dozen married priests in the congregation.

Pat Callahan