G. James Gallagher, 62, medical association head

August 20, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

G. James Gallagher, who recently retired as executive director of the American Urological Association, died of a heart attack Monday while vacationing in Bethany Beach, Del. The Phoenix, Baltimore County, resident was 62.

Mr. Gallagher was born in Baltimore and raised on Abell Avenue. He attended St. Charles Seminary in Catonsville and earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1964 from Loyola College. In 1976, he earned a master's degree in business from the University of Virginia.

Mr. Gallagher began his business career in 1964 with the U.S. Public Health Service in Atlanta, where he was a program representative with the Centers for Disease Control. The next year, he joined Williams & Wilkins Co. a Baltimore-based medical publishing company.

He held other positions with the company until being named vice president and editor-in-chief in 1975. Two years later, he was promoted to president of the journal division, and president of Williams & Wilkins in 1985.

In 1987, he left Williams & Wilkins when he became executive director of the American Urological Association Inc., then headquartered in the 1100 block of N. Charles St.

During Mr. Gallagher's 18-year tenure with the association, its membership increased from 6,600 to 15,000 members. He purchased land and oversaw design and construction of its new 80,000-square-foot headquarters in Linthicum, and established seven new service departments. The building opened in 2003.

He retired July 1.

"We have been friends for 49 years, since I first saw him sitting in the front row at St. Charles," said Michael A. Pretl, a Baltimore attorney who is the association's general counsel. "My office was next to his, and I had a chance to observe him. He was low-key and talked with everyone behind the scenes daily."

Mr. Gallagher also expanded the organization's staff from 13 to more than 100 employees.

"Jim never wanted to be the face of the organization. He let the doctors do that and always let others take the credit. He never wanted the spotlight, even though everyone here knew he ran the show," Mr. Pretl said. "He knew how to work with the doctors, which took a lot of careful orchestrating."

Gifted with an outgoing personality and a quick wit, Mr. Gallagher easily brought people together.

"It was the Irish in him. People were simply attracted to him," Mr. Pretl said.

Mike Sheppard succeeded Mr. Gallagher as executive director.

"I was the former controller and he promoted me through the ranks, and his retirement left a big void in our relationship," Mr. Sheppard said. "Just 48 days ago, we were celebrating his retirement, and I was so glad that his family was there to see what he had accomplished."

Mr. Sheppard praised his leadership style.

"Jim provided the necessary leadership and guidance. He empowered people and allowed them to work things out," he said.

His professional memberships included the American Society of Association Executives, National Library of Medicine, American Association of Medical Society Executives, and the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives.

Mr. Gallagher was a former board member of Keswick Multi-Care Center, USP Industries at Sinai Hospital and Community of Science. He was on the board of the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.

Mr. Gallagher was an accomplished photographer and world traveler.

He enjoyed listening to all types of music, from classical and opera to the Eagles, family members said.

While not a fan of the beach, Mr. Gallagher enjoyed riding his bicycle to the library in Bethany, where he liked to spend part of his day reading.

Mr. Gallagher was a communicant of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Community of Hunt Valley, at Cuba and Shawan Roads, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, the former Suzanne J. Schwarzmann; two daughters, Christine M. Taylor of Ellicott City and Katherine J. Gallagher of Catonsville; a sister, Catherine Sauer of Towson; and four grandchildren.

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