18 Aug 2012: A memorial for a super star


In Stephen Covey‘s highly effective book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” the second chapter – ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ – asks us to visualize what it would be like at our funeral: who would be there, what would they say (and then to live accordingly).
The memorial service on 18 Aug 2012 for Judy Gallo was a model for Mr. Covey’s maxim: many came, and many shared warm thoughts as a testimonial to her having lived a complete life which had a positive impact on many people.  They came from East and West, politicians, labor leaders, of different races, sexes, and sexual orientations: they came to give praise, share in sorrow, and celebrate a life lived well.
We heard live jazz by John Gallo and the  Northcoast Jazz Collective, and were serenaded by  Susan Hagan – voice and guitar.


September 21, 1941 to August 8, 2012

Judy Gallo died peacefully on the morning of August 8th, 2012.  Family and friends were able to communicate with her until the very end, and are pleased to say that she died without pain or discomfort.  More importantly, she lived a fulfilling life, without regrets.  She left this world confident that she made the right decision regarding when and how she left.  Strong, determined, and committed to her humane principles, her final choice was a brave and courageous one.  This kept in line with how she lived her life.  For those who loved Judy, her dignified departure was inspirational, and helped ease the transition for us to learn to live without her.

Judy was a tireless advocate for working people. In the 1960’s, she spent three years in the South, working with SNCC for civil rights. She was a youth leader in New York City. She was a leader in the Cleveland peace movement, in Peace Action, Women Speak Out for Peace and against the first war against Iraq. She tried to organize RN’s at MetroHealth into a union. After retiring, she was active in her union at the United Labor Agency, where she was Outreach Coordinator. In 2001, she built and led the Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition, which registered tens of thousands of Clevelanders.

Last month, Judy received a second doctor’s opinion that she did indeed have an illness for which there were no known causes, treatments, or cures.  Unable to walk, read, write, or play with her grandson, she concluded that the quality of her life, which would continue to decline, was such that she was prepared to die sooner of her own accord rather than wait.  After this decision was made, she chose to not eat or drink anything.   If there was the remotest chance of some improvement, she would have continued to fight the disease, but there wasn’t any.  She went through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and was exercising to the end – to no avail.

In her remaining months, Judy made hundreds of calls lining up speakers again SB5.  She initiated, and saw to completion, a booklet, Women’s History Project, featuring brief biographies of 16 local social activists who otherwise would have been missed by historians.  They told about how they became activists and their experiences in social justice causes.  The Western Reserve Historical Society agreed to include the booklet in its catalog for researchers and others.

Her family fully supported her activities and her final decision. She is survived by her husband John,  her two sons Jesse and Nicholas, her step daughter Tanya, her sister Marie Gerard, sister-in-law Marcia Gallo, daughter in-law Dyann Gallo,  co-grandmother Audrey Puszak, and her favorite grandson James Gallo.


Her body was donated to Case Western Medical School, and will be cremated.  

A memorial is being planned.  Notifications will be made.

Judy was a quiet rebel.  She is being missed by all who knew her. 


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