In a world where you can be anything, #belikeAmy
Exactly one year ago today, Amy Gallagher was featured in the Transcript as an “Ordinary Person with an Extraordinary Story.” If you passed Amy on the street as a stranger in her path, she may appear to be ordinary, but there was truly nothing ordinary about the proud Winthrop resident. On November 30th, at only fifty-five years old, Amy left behind a legacy that is laced in kindness, compassion, and love. A legacy that will undoubtedly live on forever.
“There is always a need in one way or another and I love to help find a way to fill it,” Amy, a proud graduate of the WHS class of 1983, was quoted saying in last year’s article. Born with a fierce determination to do good in the world, Amy set herself apart from others by giving selflessly with consistency and passion.
It was these traits that made her well-loved by her family, friends and colleagues. Her dedication to doing good meant that she was often seen as a focal point at community events. The combination of being a devout Catholic and her love of the holiday season led her to slip effortlessly into the role of leader of the St. John’s Breakfast with Santa for several years. She was a board member of St. Vincent de Paul Society and a past member of the Winthrop Catholic Women’s Club. Over the years she has spearheaded countless fundraisers, using her creativity to design baskets to raise money for students. Living by the motto “Kindness Matters,” Amy helped run the Winthrop Food Pantry during the pandemic and made it her mission every year to raise enough money so that every eighth grader at Winthrop Middle School (WMS) could attend the annual Washington, D.C. trip.
Known as the heart and soul of WMS, Amy served as an ESP for ten years and was a devoted presence in the building, sharing her energy and time to serve as the Co-Quiz Bowl Advisor, the Student Council Advisor, the Spelling Bee Co-Chair, and the Winthrop Teachers Association PR Officer. Deemed as the Queen of the Café by past WHS graduates, Amy was a fixture in the school district, with a smile that always reached her eyes and a hearty laugh that will likely echo throughout the halls forever. Eighth grade teacher, Chris Farnsworth, witnessed Amy’s gift for working with the students firsthand. Having her in the classroom as an ESP, he recalled how well-loved she was and how much she adored helping the kids. Farnsworth will never forget how he would introduce Amy as “Miss G” when she entered the classroom. One day a kid yelled out, ‘we’re saved!’ after she was introduced and from that point on, every intro was followed up by the same response.
“We cracked up laughing and it became a thing that traveled over the years. And whenever she would come in and get an intro, someone would yell it out. The memories that stand out to me are how much she helped other people, how much she loved to learn, and all the laughs we had together in the classroom. She was one of a kind, and her loss is a huge blow to Winthrop and the public school community.” She took each and every Winthrop Viking under her wing and guided them, much in the same way that she influenced her siblings, nieces and nephews.
“Amy was the light in our lives, the keeper of our family traditions, and second mother to all the nieces and nephews,” said Kathy Hubert, Amy’s sister. “She considered all their friends’ part of the family.” Hubert, who is beyond heartbroken by the loss of her sister, recalled what it was like growing up with Amy by her side. “When we were little my mom walked to the Quality Market at Magee’s Corner nearly every day. There’d be the five of us and any neighborhood kid who was around…probably 15 of us parading down Main Street. Someone in a neighboring house or someone just passing by would question what the parade was all about. It didn’t take long for a nearby walker to confirm it was The Gallaghers.” Fast forward decades later and Amy was the one leading her nieces and nephews with their friends around town.
“She’d escort them to functions or to stores for proms and special occasions. And if anyone ever questioned who the woman with all those kids was, the answer would, and always will be The Gallaghers. I know that her kindness and love will carry and guide our family and her many friends through life.” When Amy wasn’t leaving her mark on the town, she was making memories in her favorite places with some of the people she loved. “Amy loved the Cape and would sing along with her nieces and nephews on the drives there,” said sister, Judy Teixeira. “She was the epitome of how our parents raised us. She loved her family and friends unconditionally just as our parents did.”
To her friends, Amy was a lighthouse, a constant in the wavy world. The absence of her warm, yet honest personality is felt across the friendships that she made in the many facets of her life. “I am absolutely devastated,” said Bobbi Vecchio-Kilduff, one of Amy’s many close friends. “She was the best friend you could ask for. She was always there for everyone.” Bobbi is bolstered by the love that Amy left behind and has already started centering her life on the newly created hashtag #belikeAmy.
“She did so much for others in her life and is continuing to give more even after her passing. Food drives in her honor, scholarships in her name. She was an organ donor, and because of her, someone is able to see and others will get skin grafts.”
Simply by crossing paths with friends, students, coworkers, and relatives, Amy has improved countless lives and her honest goodness will live on in the town and beyond. “Everyone felt like she was their best friend and she truly was. The outpouring of love since day one from the schools, the town, friends, and acquaintances is a testament to the fact that kindness does indeed matter,” said her sister, Ellen Baxter.
The family kindly asks that if you wish to honor her memory, to donate to the Miss G Memorial Washington D.C. Scholarship Fund c/o Webster First Federal Credit Union, 15 Woodside Ave Winthrop, MA 02152 or via Venmo @MISSGDC. There will be a memorial celebration for Amy in the spring.