Charles E. Gallagher Print E-mail

Charles E. Gallagher

"Well known area entertainer"

Charles E. (“Charlie”) Gallagher, 93, of Lowell, passed away peacefully on November 5, 2021, at D'Youville Life and Wellness Community.  He was predeceased by the love of his life, his wife, Alyce C. (Gilligan) Gallagher.

Charlie was born on December 20, 1927, on Sargent Street in the heart of Lowell’s Acre neighborhood, the fourth of the eight children of William H. and Alice F. (Smith) Gallagher.  He attended Bartlett Elementary, Lowell High School, and the New England College of Art.

Upon graduating high school, Charlie enlisted in the Army, serving in Korea, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and earning a WWII Victory Medal.

By vocation, Charlie was an illustrator, for several decades, at Raytheon Corporation but by avocation, he was a music man, an unabashed and irrepressible showman.  He learned the piano, by ear, on an old Upright literally at his father’s knee and for the next 80 years, he played, and entertained, everywhere – on (yes, on) Hampton Beach, at sea, at weddings and after funerals, at venues near and far, at formal events and countless Gallagher family parties, leading sing-alongs, and eagerly performing his favorite shticks including “Trouble” from The Music Man and The Auctioneer.

For Charlie, life was a song – preferably in four-part harmony.  He was a well-known (“legendary,” according to one contemporary) “barbershopper” for over a half century.  He sang with many barbershop choruses including the Andover (MA) Townsmen and the Granite Statesmen (Nashua, NH), and was a founding member of the Lowell Gentleman Songsters.  He sang with many different barbershop quartets – including, with his son, brother, and nephew, The Gallagher Four – which he would proudly introduce as “two fathers, two sons, two uncles, two cousins, and four friends.”  He sang from Lowell to Alton Bay, NH and from Montreal, Canada to the Netherlands.  He sang on the streets of the Lowell Folk Festival and at many area non-profit and political gatherings.   He sang – and taught – all four musical parts, even creating a barbershop “slide rule,” enabling singers to readily transpose from one key to another.  There were few things he loved more than “ringing” a great chord.  If a barbershop chorus needed a director, an emcee, a trainer, or someone to blow the “pitch pipe” to ensure that singers remained on key, Charlie was the guy.

Charlie was also a recreational inventor, composer, and poet, self-publishing his own book of poetry.

Although he was passionate about his barbershopping and piano-playing, Charlie’s greatest love was his late wife, Alyce, and his greatest accomplishment was selflessly guiding her through nearly a decade of Alzheimer’s – serving as her cook, launderer, beautician, chauffeur, and fierce health care advocate – committed to keeping her in her home, and that is where she remained.

While for most of his life, Charlie enjoyed excellent health, multiple physical challenges beset him in his later years.  When he lost his sight, he put down his songbook.  When he lost the use of his legs, even though he had circled his beloved Fort Hill Park every day, rain or shine, for 30 years, he settled into an Adirondack chair on his front lawn overlooking the park and engaged passersby in friendly banter.  Through it all, to the end, he never, ever complained.

Charlie and Alyce had five children whom they put through college, to whom he passed along his love for music and art, and for whom he modeled integrity, self-confidence, entrepreneurship, frugality and generosity, independence, respect, and hard work.  He is survived by a daughter, Caroline Gallagher, of Rockland, ME; four sons, Michael Gallagher and his wife Linda of Lowell, Daniel Gallagher and his wife Jody of Lowell, Chris Gallagher and his wife Brigitte of Sarasota, FL, and Charles E. Gallagher, Jr. of Rockland, ME.  In addition, he was “Grandad” to seven treasured grandchildren, Ryan Gallagher and his wife, Claire, Rory Gallagher, Drew Gallagher, Datev Gallagher and her fiancé Adam Witzel, Cory Gallagher, Este Fuller and her fiancé Adam Page, and Brady Gallagher, and to his great granddaughter, Clara Rose Page.  He is also survived by his cherished sisters, Mary E. Quinn of Dracut, and Angela Lyons and her husband Jack of Dracut, and sister-in-law Rita Gallagher of Dover, NH, and dozens of much-loved nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Charlie was the brother of the late William Gallagher, Walter Gallagher, Owen Gallagher, Frederic Gallagher, and Ellen Spear – all of whom also served their country in the armed services.

Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. in Lowell on Thursday, November 11, 2021, from 3 to 7 P.M.  Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Friday morning at ST. PATRICK CHURCH 282 SUFFOLK ST. in Lowell at 11 o’clock followed by his burial at the LOWELL CEMETERY.  E-condolences/directions at  Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the Charles E. Gallagher Memorial Fund, c/o Lowell Community Foundation, 100 Merrimack St., Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852 or online Charles E. Gallagher Memorial  Arrangements by Funeral Director James F. O’Donnell, Jr. (978) 458-8768.

Condolences (2)
  • Ken Rear  - To A Great Friend and Singer
    I will always remember our singing tours through Europe with Charlie and Alyce. A good friend a great entertainer. Rest in peace Charlie Ken Rear Formerly Nashua Granitestatesmen
  • Nancye Tuttle, Wells, Maine  - My deepest sympathies
    I send my deepest sympathy to Michael, Caroline, their brothers and the rest of the Gallagher family on Charles' passing. What a wonderful life he led! May your memories and the music help sustain you as you mourn his passing, and may he rest in peace.
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