NASHUA — Mary Louise (Wilkins) Gallagher, 88, passed peacefully, with her children and family by her side, on March 9, 2019, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, after a brief illness.
Mary was born Aug. 9, 1930, in Laconia, the daughter of Waldo E. Wilkins and Flora Belle Wilkins. She resided most recently with her daughter, Virene Poloquin, and son-in-law Jerry Poloquin. Prior to that, she spent her years raising her family and living in New Hampton, with some retirement years wintering in Florida.
New Hampton is where she raised her seven children, along with many other family members whom she treated as her own. As a young adult, and being courted by her future husband, Richard Gallagher, she loved going roller skating and to the Thompson’s barn dances, and hosting the “get-togethers” for all.
After her first five children were born, she and her husband suffered a tragic house fire. They lost everything and had to rebuild their life, living with another family in the one-room schoolhouse located on Sinclair Hill Road. That’s when she and her husband built their family home and started a business together, along with working full-time and farming. Mary spent years working at the woolen mill in Meredith and then went on to work for more than 25 years at Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant, where she was often mistaken as “Alice” from the Brady Bunch show.
Mary went on to have two more children after the first five were all in high school and, at the same time, she was becoming a grandmother.
She always had food to feed you, a place for you to sleep, warm hands to give you peace, and love to envelop you.
Mary had a passion for gardening, both vegetables and flowers, and she would take her time to pass the knowledge on to her children and grandchildren, along with the process of canning and preserving the food to keep her family well-fed.
She also enjoyed several activities, such as puzzles, knitting, reading, bingo, and even bowling for years on leagues at the Meredith bowling lanes. The last several years, she knit many sets of hats and mittens to donate to local food pantries and schools, and even sent some to the Indian reservations to keep the children warm. She enjoyed her friends at the Hudson Senior Center as they played cards, bingo and going on casino trips together.
Mary was most known for her truly unconditional warmth and love. She never judged anyone. Many people would tell you they felt like family as soon as they were in her presence.
Mary’s children include her sons, Robert Gallagher and Richard Gallagher II; daughters Florence Striblin, Sylvia Fisher, Gloria Morrow, Virene Poloquin, and Edna Blake; and a niece that she claimed and helped raise as her own daughter, Mary Wright. She had 21 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Mary was predeceased by her parents; eldest son Robert; husband of many years Richard Gallagher; sisters Dorothy Jenness and Barbara LaFrance; and brother Waldo “Sonny” Wilkins.
There will be a service to remember and celebrate her life at the New Hampton Community Church on Saturday, March 23, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow downstairs at the church. A burial will take place later in the spring at the family homestead.