The staff and trustees of the North Shore-LIJ Health System mourn the loss of John "Jack" S.T. Gallagher, the health system's founding president and chief executive officer. Jack died suddenly Saturday night, April 18, of a heart attack at his home in Palm Beach, FL. He was 83. Jack was a legendary leader whose foresight and vision as president and CEO of North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in Manhasset laid the groundwork in the early 1990s for hospital mergers on Long Island and Queens, creating a model for the integrated health systems that are so prevalent in today's healthcare market. During an era when managed care was first taking hold and hospitals were struggling financially, Jack sought to level the playing field for healthcare providers. He negotiated a merger with what was then known as Community Hospital at Glen Cove in 1990, before formally establishing the North Shore Health System in 1992. Over the next four years, he would develop relationships with Huntington, Plainview, Franklin, Forest Hills, Syosset, Staten Island University and Southside hospitals, before the network expanded further with the 1997 merger with Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center. The historic merger created the North Shore-LIJ Health System that stands today as the largest in New York State and the nation's 11th largest non-profit health system. A Queens native who obtained a business degree from Holy Cross College, Jack left the family tire business in his early 30s to begin pursuing a career in healthcare administration, earning a master of science degree from Yale University in epidemiology and public health. He joined the administrative staff at what was then called North Shore Hospital as an intern in 1963, working for then-Executive Vice President and CEO Dennis Buckley. The two would work closely together over the next two decades before Jack became president and CEO in the 1980s - a job he would hold until his retirement at the end of 2000. He had continued to serve as a life trustee of the health system. In addition to his unparalleled dedication and commitment to his work, Jack was extremely affable and approachable, enjoying coffee and breakfast with front-line staff and playing the piano at hospital holiday parties and other gatherings. On behalf of the staff and trustees of the entire North Shore-LIJ Health System, we extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Aileen O'Halloran Gallagher; sons John, Robert, Thomas and Paul; daughters Grace Haggerty and Louise Grecco; seven step-children; 27 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In honor of Jack, flags at all North Shore-LIJ facilities will be flown at half-staff. Calling hours will be held this Thursday, April 23, from 3pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm at the Oyster Bay Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 24, at 10am at St. Gertrude's Catholic Church in Bayville. Please join us in remembering Jack and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Mark L. Claster, Chairman, Board of Trustees, North Shore-LIJ Health System Michael J. Dowling, President & CEO, North Shore-LIJ Health System
Published in New York Times on Apr. 21, 2015.