Teacher was source of laughter for many

RYAN SWOPE, left, and other members of the Mesa State College Mavericks’ football team pause for a moment of silence before Saturday night’s game at Stocker Stadium. They were honoring Dr. Terry Fine and Flo Gallagher, who were shot to death earlier in the day.



Mike Gallagher talks about the shooting deaths of his wife, Flo and friend Terry Fine



Mug of Flo Gallagher



Flo Gallagher was a constant source of laughter for her friends, a woman whose life was wrapped up in books and a driving desire to introduce students to the world of the written word.

Gallagher, the wife of former Mesa State College President Mike Gallagher, died Saturday in an apparently random shooting that also claimed the life of friend Terry Fine.

Flo Gallagher, 60, was in the first year of her retirement from Grand Junction High School, where she taught reading.

“She loved the kids, and they loved her,” Grand Junction High English teacher Lorena Thompson said

Whenever Thompson was down, she said Gallagher “always had something that would make me laugh.”

A master of sly humor, Gallagher “could always be counted on to lighten the moment in absolutely the worst situation,” Thompson said. “She was always able to say these dry, funny remarks.”

She was, said friend Bill Sisson, “a total character, a flowing beautiful spirit.”

“She had a great sense of humor, and she loved to laugh” said Marcia Neal, who taught at Grand Junction High School and was in The Reviewers book club with her.

Fans at the Mesa State football game at Stocker Stadium on Saturday night observed a moment of silence for Gallagher.

“The Mesa State community and the entire community suffered a terrible loss,” college spokeswoman Dana Nunn said.

A gracious hostess, she never forgot that she was long the first lady of Mesa State College, and she remained a consummate hostess and entertainer, family friend Jim Fleming said.

Fleming said he sensed an immediate bond when he met her, one that permitted them to jab and joke without malice.

“People would look at us and wonder whether we liked each other,” he said. “But she and I were having fun, whether they knew it or not.”

Once during a dinner at which Mesa State College art students’ works were available at a silent auction, Thompson said she spotted a couple items that interested her. She noticed, though, that Flo Gallagher
already had bid on them, and she didn’t know whether she should try to outbid her friend.

When she asked Gallagher about it, “She said the most remarkable thing,” Thompson said. “She said, ‘Go ahead, I bid on everything that doesn’t have a bid.’

“She wanted to make sure that every one of the kids sold something.”


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