COLUMBUS – Dr. John Joseph Gallagher of Columbus, passed away, Saturday afternoon, November 21, 2020 at Spartanburg Medical Center.
Dr. Gallagher was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents Margaret McHugh Gallagher and John Patrick Gallagher. John graduated from the college of the Holy Cross in 1964. He then went on to Georgetown University School of Medicine where he graduated in1968. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine from Duke University before being drafted into the U.S. Public Health service in the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory at Staten Island. He returned to Duke for his fellowship in cardiology and remained thereafter as faculty going on to become a pioneer in the world of cardiac electrophysiology and an internationally recognized analyst of complex arrhythmias.
John spoke Russian, Italian, and a few other romantic languages he would use in teaching the world the first electrical mapping of the human heart which led to the first open heart surgery where he would direct the surgeon to cut the malignant pathway. Later he invented and perfected a less invasive way of destroying these malignant pathways through the first cardiac ablation. By doing this he has helped tens of thousands of patients all over the world. John won many awards for his work and in 1999 his peers presented him with The Teacher of the Year award for the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology, later known as The Heart Rhythm Society. After Duke, he became the director of electrophysiology at Carolinas Medical Center and Carolinas Heart Institute. In 2002, he joined Cardiology Consultants in Spartanburg, SC as an EP cardiologist for 12 years before serving as a hospitalist and, later, internist with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
The most important thing to John was giving his patients impeccable medical care. He enjoyed hearing their life stories and found their telling therapeutic to the patient's health. He would sometimes tap his patients' chest and say, 'What is this? This is God's temple, and you have a spiritual obligation to take care of it. I can help you with that."
John enjoyed spending time on his horse farm in Columbus, NC, deer hunting, and being with those he loved. He was a member of First Baptist Church of North Spartanburg and enjoyed sharing his faith with others, particularly on Oakbrook Preparatory's annual trip to Nicaragua. He was a faithful supporter of Chosen Children Ministries based in Spartanburg, SC, which helps orphaned children in Nicaragua.
John is survived by his wife Jane, his children Holly Kathleen Gallagher Samet, John Joseph Gallagher Jr., Natalie Marie and Bridget Grace Gallagher, his sisters Marge Egan and Joan Mooney, and his grandchildren Madeleine & Ryan Samet.
A drive-thru Celebration of Dr. Gallagher's Life will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Saturday, November 28, 2020 at their farm, 1970 Chesnee Road, Columbus, North Carolina 28722.
Memorials may be made to Chosen Children Ministries, 9420 Asheville Highway, Inman, South Carolina 29349.
An online guest register is available at mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com
McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory
Tryon, North Carolina
Published by Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Nov. 26, 2020.