Cover photo for Mr. Thomas John "Tom" Galleher's Obituary
Mr. Thomas John "Tom" Galleher Profile Photo
1921 Mr. 2015

Mr. Thomas John "Tom" Galleher

April 12, 1921 — February 1, 2015

Thomas John Galleher was born on April 12, 1921 to Effa (Barr) Galleher and H.W. "Harry" Galleher, at Omaha, Nebraska. He was the fifth and youngest child. Tom passed away on February 1, 2015 in the Rock County Long Term Care, at Bassett, Nebraska at the age of 93. He grew up at 213 State Street, in Bassett and continued to reside there until entering the Rock County Hospital in September of 2014.
The fall of 1926, Tom began his education at Bassett Elementary School, just across the street from his home. He graduated from Rock County High School in 1939, with a class of 45 students. His education continued at the University of Omaha, where he studied architectural engineering for 2 years before transferring to the University of Nebraska, in Lincoln for 1 year. Tom then entered the Army, as WWII was in progress. He took his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood in Kansas, and was sent to the University of Kansas for specialized training in engineering. Naples, Italy was the landing spot for Tom and his National Guard unit that had been trained for field artillery. They were fighting in the mountains near Brenner Pass on the Italian/Austrian border when Germany surrendered. Tom gained the rank of Sergeant while serving in northern Italy, before returning home. He did some clerical work, and had access to V-mail, which allowed him to send letters home to his family during the war. He was discharged from the service in 1946, and returned to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, graduating with his Engineering degree in 1947.
Tom returned to Bassett, and began plans for a new H.W. Galleher Lumber Company building. This building is still in use today, operating as Wm. Krotter Lumber, Co. The building was completed in 1949. Near the same time, the present day Bassett Lodge and Range Café was built. Tom not only designed this structure, but was one of the original investors.
Tom spoke of flying food and supplies to families snowed in by the blizzard of 1948 and '49. He had purchased a small Piper Cub airplane and really enjoyed flying it. One story he told about this Cub concerned a near accident. He and Leonard Spoering had been delivering supplies to families, and upon their return to the airport, the sun had gone down and some fog had set in. Tom had the lead controls and Leonard was seated behind Tom with the secondary controls. Tom couldn't clearly see the runway, but Leonard thought he could see it, so Leonard was in charge of landing. When they were finally on the ground, it was discovered that they had landed near the end of the runway, and had actually gone past it into the pasture.
Tom was a member of The Aces of Rhythm and played big band music in dance halls in Nebraska and South Dakota. Tom played the trumpet, saxophone and on occasion, the clarinet. While learning to play the clarinet, Tom asked one of his dachshunds to stop and listen to the little tune he had just learned. Upon completion of the song, the dog promptly vomited and moved on, (not much of a music lover, I guess.) His love of Big Band music was shared with friends and family and can still be heard when driving his car, as he has cassette tapes with the Aces of Rhythm in the tape player. Tom also taught himself how to play the organ and would entertain guests at his cabin with his music. On a clear night, the music could be heard for some distance in Hidden Paradise.
Tom was also a painter, a talent he shared with his mother, Effa. Many of his paintings adorn not only his walls, but those of family and friends. He had a real talent for scenery and also portraits.
In the 1970's Tom began plans for a cabin which he built on Pine creek in Hidden Paradise. His design is unique and presents a beautiful scene in both summer and winter. The cabin became a second home for Tom. He entertained many a friend and family at this cabin, and taught several youngsters in the community how to fish, ride motorcycles and more importantly, taught them life lessons. Many dogs shared Tom's life through the years and each one was special. From Gus and Squab to Clive and Elwood (dachshunds whom were littermates) to Tyrone, Arnold, Willy Bite, Two, and his most recent companion, Jazz, all were well trained and loyal followers of Tom's. One story that always put a funny picture in the mind was that of Tom and his motorcycle that had two sidecars. The dachshunds rode one in each side car when going out for adventures. The dogs always liked to chase rabbits. One day, upon turning off the highway onto a dirt road, a rabbit was spotted. Clive and Elwood didn't wait for the cycle to come to a stop and jumped out only to begin rolling head over heels past the cycle. The rabbit made a safe getaway.
During later years, Tom delivered Meals on Wheels to people in the community and frequented the Rock County Senior Center. Tom joined the Singin' Seniors, in 2010 which was associated with the Senior Center and thoroughly enjoyed this group and their performances. Tom was a member of the Masonic Lodge and was a Bronze Jordan Medal Holder. He was the longest serving member of the Silver Cord Lodge #224 AF & AM. He was a contributor to the Rock County Leader, and wrote several stories for the Rock County Quasquicentennial Book. Tom was an excellent story teller and could bring tears to the eyes from laughter. He was a true gentleman, loved dearly by his family and close friends. Tom was a Rock County icon and will be missed.
Preceding Tom in death were his parents, Harry W. and Effa (Barr) Galleher; brothers, Norm and Lynn Galleher (whom died at 9 months of age); Sisters, Genevieve (Galleher) Losch and Jeannette (Galleher) Merritt; Nephews, H.W. (Bill) Merritt and Michael (Galleher) MacLean; Niece, Sharon Galleher. Surviving Tom are Suzane (Losch) Hupp, Nancy (Losch) Blue and husband Robert, Richard Losch and wife Marina, Ann (Merritt) Watson, and Harry (Galleher) MacLean. Locally, grand-niece, Tammera (Merritt) Kunz and husband Dan, William Merritt and wife Barb, and Coleen Merritt, great-niece, Jan Scally and husband, Tom; along with many great-great nieces and nephews and Jazz.
Funeral Services were held on February 9, 2015 at the United Methodist Church in Bassett, Nebraska with Pastor Rod Heilbrun officiating the service. Music was provided by JoAnn Swanson. Special musical selections of "Mansion Over The Hilltop" and "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" were provided by the Singin' Seniors. Pallbearers were, Billy Kunz, Bill Vodehnal, Reilly Hoch, Todd Keller, Tom Theisen and Gary DeBolt.Masonic Rites were conducted by the Masonic Silver Cord Lodge #224 AF & AM. Burial was held at the Bassett Memorial Park Cemetery with Military Honors provided by the Bassett American Legion Post #123. Memorials were directed to the Rock County Senior Center or to the Rock County Hospital in Tom's name. Hoch Funeral Home of Bassett was in charge of the arrangements.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mr. Thomas John "Tom" Galleher, please visit our flower store.

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