Gallagher, Arthur Paul Arthur Paul Gallagher, longest serving editor of The Ann Arbor News, died December 13, 2010, at the Glacier Hills Senior Living Community. He was 99. Highly respected by those in the journalism profession for his 50-year career in this field, he also was among Ann Arbor civic leaders whose involvement affected a myriad of people both before and after his retirement.

Born in Manistique, MI, the son of Arthur J. Gallagher and Rose Allers Gallagher, he began working part-time at the Daily Tribune while in high school. He then worked as a reporter for the paper for two years before coming to Ann Arbor in 1931 to attend the University of Michigan. He took a part-time job as a reporter for the Ann Arbor Tribune, a tri-weekly, and later became editor and manager of that paper's successor, the weekly Washtenaw Post Tribune.

In 1937, The Ann Arbor News hired him to be farm and county editor and reporter. He served as telegraph editor (1941-1950), news editor (1950-1954) and as editor for 22 years (1954-1976), the longest ever in this position. Active in professional journalism organizations, he served as president of the Michigan Press Association (MPA), the University Press Club and the Michigan Associated Press Editorial Association. He was chairman of the journalism education committee of the MPA and the Inland Daily Press Association and served as the professional member of the accrediting committee for the American Council on Education for Journalism He was a member of the American Society of News-paper Editors from 1935 to 1977 and in 1975 was a Pulitzer Prize juror for editorial writing. He was a member of the U-M faculty as visiting lecturer in journalism (1948-1953) and again in 1976. Both before and after retirement, he was very involved in civic affairs. He served on the boards of the American Red Cross, local unit of the American Cancer Society and of the March of Dimes, the county chapter of the Michigan Children's Aid Society, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Ann Arbor Round-table of Christians and Jews. He was one of the founders of the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair and a founding member of the executive committee of the Michigan Lions Eye Bank. He campaigned editorially for a Washtenaw United Way and was on several committees of that organization over many years. During his years as editor, The Ann Arbor News inaugurated a Sunday edition, travel and outdoor pages plus a conversational Russian language column. A French language feature in The News, Les Miserables, without translation, was syndicated by The News to other publications and was praised by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower when he saw it in a Pennsylvania newspaper. A News feature that encouraged adoption of hard to place children had wide acceptance and led to elimination of some confidentiality policies that had hindered adoptions.

Mr. Gallagher believed strongly that a university town must have many informed and articulate readers, and so he established a "Readers' Viewpoint" column on the editorial page, which grew from an occasional letter to the editor to hundreds. The column was cited in the Princeton Review of public opinion pages in U. S. newspapers. During his tenure, The News launched an unsuccessful campaign for a city income tax; non-partisan selection of judges; and a law requiring the use of seat belts. He not only had seat belts installed in his own car as early as 1956, but after retirement worked with the county health department to have seat belt reminder signs installed in all city and university parking lots and structures. Since retiring from The News, Mr. Gallagher served as president and later secretary of the Ann Arbor Historical Foundation, as director of the 1977 Science Fair, as president of the U-M Emeritus Club, as alumni representative on the U-M's committee on the economic status of the faculty, the U-M's Historica Critica and the public relations committee of the Red Cross. He has written histories of the Ann Arbor Lions Club, the Ann Arbor Club, and several chapters in the history of the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club. As a member of the Dun'workin' Club, composed of town and gown retirees, he wrote a dozen historical essays on a variety of subjects, some of which are in his papers at the Bentley Historical Library. Also in retirement, he has served on committees of the United Way and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. He delivered Meals on Wheels for 15 years and played golf until age 96 at Barton Hills and Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Clubs. With generations of sailors in his family, he wrote stories about his Gallagher and Allers relatives, involving shipwrecks and sailing on the oceans and Great Lakes, which were published by Michigan History magazine.

During the years of rioting and picketing in Ann Arbor, the 1960s and early 1970s, he steered a course for The News that supported U-M President Robben Fleming in his successful efforts to avoid a Kent State disaster here. In the bitter controversy over fair housing laws, he sought a compromise between the so-called "Clergymen's Ordinance" and a more workable plan that would ban housing discrimination against minorities. Civil rights, charges of police brutality, plus the upheaval of the Viet Nam War tested, as never before, the news media's efforts to be fair. On April 17, 1936, Mr. Galla-gher married Marjorie Lillian Niffenegger, and the two of them worked as a team while he was editor of The News. Art received phone calls from her on such topics as election voter turnout or rumors about plans for a 15-story building. Although she was trained in mathematics, Marge couldn't get a teaching job during the Great Depression because her husband was working. Instead, a man with fewer qualifications might be hired to teach math because he could double as a football coach. This discrimination became apparent when women who previously had not been hired, moved into jobs left open because men were drafted. In journalism, women proved to be as good or better reporters and writers than the men they replaced. To correct this disparity, Art hired many women staffers for The News. Three, from different eras, just out of the U-M, became known in journalism: Carol Otto Buatti, reporter, copy editor, and teacher; Elizabeth Elling, environmentalist, administrator and marathon swimmer; and Robin Wright, author, Middle East authority and television panelist.

A sports enthusiast, his support of women's athletic programs was evidenced by his attendance at U-M women's softball games where he had a prime seat, as well as decades as a season ticket-holder for U-M football and men's basketball games. He is survived by his son, Edward Arthur Gallagher (Sylvia); his daughter, Jean Marie Gallagher Wilkins (Charles); four grandchildren, Amy Marie Gallagher Woodruff (Brian), Sara Beth Gallagher Zocher (Jay), Heather Leigh Wilkins Richmond (Timothy), and Fredrick James Wilkins (Jodi Chart-off); 10 great-grandchildren, Grace, Ella and Nathan Woodruff, Henry and Lily Zocher, Catherine, Jonathan and Samantha Richmond; Tyler and Sadie Wilkins, and five nephews.

Memorials may be made to Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation,(Gallagher Family Fund), 301 N. Main St., Ann Arbor 48104 or to Glacier Hills Foundation, 1200 Earhart Rd., Ann Arbor 48105. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 2250 East Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor at 11:30 AM, Saturday, December 18, family to greet friends at 11 AM, with a reception to follow mass. Burial will be in South Haven, MI, where he grew up and met his wife Marjorie.

Published in on December 16, 2010

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