Stephen Leo Gallagher Jr.
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Stephen Leo Gallagher, Jr.
June 28, 1939 - March 12, 2021
Stephen Leo Gallagher, Jr., who has died aged 81, presided over a number of high-profile cases during more than two decades on the bench in Multnomah County. Born in New York City, Gallagher was a choirboy at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, and often attended performances at the nearby Metropolitan Opera. He joined the Air Force after graduating from Brown University, and later served in the Air National Guard. He studied law at the University of Oregon, working in private practice before being appointed to the court in 1981.
In 1996 he was the first judge in the United States to require a public agency to provide homosexual couples with the same medical, dental and life insurance benefits it offered to married couples, noting that, "Constitutional law may mandate, like it or not, that customs change with an evolving social order."
He served on the board of the Portland Opera, and sang with the Balladeers at the Multnomah Athletic Club. Proud of his Irish heritage, Gallagher was born with a twinkle in his eye, and a smile was always just a joke or a story away.
He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer Anderholt of Vancouver, Washington, Libby Collins of New York City; and his grandson, Austin Anderholt.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Oregonian from Apr. 2 to Apr. 4, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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23 entries
April 14, 2021
Our sincere condolences to Jennifer, Libby and Austin on the death of our dear friend Stephen. We have today just learned of his sad passing. We first met in 1990 and this is the first year in the past 30 that we have not been in contact on St. Patrick's day. We remember one year with only 10 minutes left in the day he managed to phone from what he called " a one horsetown in Argentina".
Wonderful memories of holidays together in Italy, France and USA and of course Ireland. On one occasion he and Sandy stayed with us for a month, we had a wonderful time house hunting. What a pity that did not come to fruition. We will miss them both very much and have been honoured to call them friends. May they both rest in peace.

Michael and Peggy Larkin
their Irish friends.


Michael and Peggy Larkin
Friend
April 14, 2021
Sincere condolences to the family. We have just found out of Stephens passing. We all held him in high regard and enjoyed his many trips to Ireland.
Brian Larkin
Acquaintance
April 10, 2021
What a fine human being. I appeared in front of your father for many years and held him in the highest respect. He was a brave and fair man. There also was a lot of fun in him; St. Paddy's day took on new meaning for me after attending his parties. Him memory will be of a blessing to all who knew him.
bruce liebowitz
Friend
April 9, 2021
As a practicing attorney, I appeared before the judge for numerous hearings and trials, I had a great deal of respect for him. I promised myself that should I ever become a judge, I would do my best to follow his path. I will be retiring at the end of this month from the bench, having done my best to live up to this promise. Rest well my friend.
Angel Lopez
Friend
April 8, 2021
Steve was a great judge and a great human being. He made everyone in his presence feel welcomed and respected. And he used to throw an annual golf tourney that was always flat out fun. I'll miss him!
Jon Friedman
April 7, 2021
May the wind be always at your back!
Stan Schook
Friend
April 7, 2021
Judge Gallagher, though I never had the honor of meeting him, sounds like a man ahead of his time- especially in his court rulings. I mench. Sending Love & Aloha to Libby & Michael and the Gallagher family❤
Chris Chinn & Frankie Ruizm
Friend
April 7, 2021
I was a brand new judge in 1995. Steve gave me incredibly sage advice and guidance, helping me to become a better judge. He reminded me to always remember that the people in my courtroom were there to get impartial justice and that institutional power should never sway the result. Steve was a visionary thinker and a good man - and will be missed by this now-retired judge.
Henry Kantor
Coworker
April 7, 2021
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Richard and Beverley Kline
April 7, 2021
I didn’t know him. I wish I had. He sounds like a joy. He had a magical daughter - Libby.
Dennis Dugan
April 6, 2021
Bruce and I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Libby, Jennifer, Austin, extended family and friends. Love to all, it’s hard to lose your dad and grandpa. We always enjoyed being with you all!
Sharon & Bruce Anderholt
Friend
April 6, 2021
Steve was one of my favorite people. We served for many years in the Oregon Air National Guard. He was smart, funny, and well liked...and a very good lawyer...and will me missed.
Larry Paulson
Served In Military Together
April 5, 2021
I worked with Steve as a law clerk while attending law school and as an associate in the law firm he was a partner in. I always enjoyed working with him and remember him as a man whose enjoyment of life made those around him feel welcomed and special.
ron wade
Friend
April 5, 2021
I was the first woman associate hired by the Rankin Walsh Law Firm and Judge Gallagher was my supervisor (in 1977). Those were the days when attorneys were expected to show up every Saturday morning. What could have been just an extra burden was transformed into a pleasure because the Judge always had the Saturday morning opera blasting out of his office (which happend to be next to mine). He was a sweetheart of a supervisor. I remember him so very fondly.
Karen Berry
Coworker
April 5, 2021
A very close & personal friend of our family Stephen was a major influence in the lives of myself and my brothers. He was a great man whose memory will always be with us. My sincerest condolences.
Alex Fink
Friend
April 4, 2021
Wonderful man who was an important of the All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon.
Tony & Rose Ann Ranft
Friend
April 4, 2021
Steve was a good man and a good judge. He will be greatly missed. We were both judges during many of the same years (Steve in Multnomah County and me in Washington County), and Steve's deceased wife and I had gone to law school together. My sincere condolences to the family.
Nancy Campbell
Coworker
April 4, 2021
Steve Gallagher was a great judge. Smart and fair, he was blessed with a common sense and an appreciation for justice that tempered the often harsh realities of the legal system. He also had a marvelous disposition. He betrayed not a trace of either pretense or false humility. It was fun to have him on a case because as seriously as he took the job, his humor and goodwill lightened the burden for advocates and parties alike.

Most crucially, Judge Gallagher was a standup guy. The Portland police took an unusual interest in one criminal defendant, and the courtroom was filled with police officers intent on letting the judge know that they expected a maximum sentence. Gallagher took the bench, announced that no one was ever going to intimidate him, and did the right thing by the hapless defendant, a guy who had probably never before been given a break. Courage is perhaps the most rare and precious commodity of all, and for Judge Gallagher, standing up for what he believed to be right was as natural as breathing in and breathing out.

Greg Kafoury
Gregory Kafoury
April 4, 2021
A fine judge and real gentleman. I was always a joy to be assigned to his courtroom.
David Slader
Acquaintance
April 4, 2021
I'm sure he was disappointed not to have one last St Patrick's Day with us. His St Patrick's Day parties at various Portland restaurants were events of joy and delight. He was thoughtful, fair and compassionate as a judge. He was a good friend, and I wish there were a time and place to tip a glass and honor him with love and laughter.
Susan Elizabeth Reese
Friend
April 4, 2021
I am so sorry for your families loss. May peace and love be with you.
rhonda robb
Friend
April 4, 2021
He was a very fine judge and a friend.
Bob Smith
April 2, 2021
Friend from college days, great smile and sense of humor, distinguished career in law and a benefit to Oregon!
James D Burke
Friend
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