Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Gallagher

Dr. Jerome Jay “Jerry” Gallagher, age 78, died December 11, 2021, at St. Lawrence hospice in Lansing, Michigan, with his beloved wife of 51 years, Sherwood Hughes Gallagher, by his side.  Jerome was born on November 13, 1943, in Traverse City, MI, to general surgeon/neurologist/psychiatrist and Director of Receiving at Traverse City State Hospital William Hanna Gallagher and Mother Hannah Ethel Rosen.

Jerome received a B.S. degree in Clinical and Experimental Psychology from Michigan State University in 1967, a Master’s in Psychology from Central Michigan University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Michigan State University in 1973.

In the 1940s, the custom was that physicians’ families grew up on the grounds of the State Hospital and Jerry frequently accompanied his father to see patients.  He learned by observing his father how to treat people with respect and deep compassion but also with purpose.  Jerome was preceded in death by his older brother William Joseph Gallagher, and survived by, among others, his younger brothers Morton James and Stuart Robert Gallagher. All three felt deeply that Traverse City was home and that they had enjoyed the best childhood that anyone could have had.  All family gatherings involved some amount of time spent reminiscing about the good old days running wild over the grounds of the hospital, playing in the creek, shooting the bulls with pea shooters, and building fires and roasting hot dogs in the tunnels….

Jerome was also an accomplished musician, again, influenced by growing up listening nightly to his father play Chopin waltzes on the piano.  Jerry’s own children in turn would lay beneath his piano most nights on a brown furry bean bag listening to him play music that ran the gamut from Chopin, to ragtime, to the Great American songbook, and even church hymns.  Jerry was a rare individual who had a true ear and did not need music to play; in fact never did learn to read music.  If he could hear it, he could play it.  His first, and only, piano teacher dismissed him when, as a small boy, she realized he was only pretending to read the music he was supposed to be playing for his lesson. He was appearing to concentrate hard but the songbook was opened to the wrong page- -And upside down!  Music was an integral part of Jerome’s life.  He played throughout the state with bands and as a soloist in all the top venues of the 1960s, and in fact, paid his entire way through school playing the piano.

Jerome was also a superb swimmer and lifeguarded for two years at Riviera Beach in Florida.  He was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite, a member of the National Register of HealthCare Service Providers in Psychology, a Diplomate of the American Society of Forensic Examiners, a member of the Internat’l Assn. of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a member of the American Legion, the Eagles, the Moose, and a lifetime member of the Elks.

Jerome had an illustrious career spanning decades working in community mental health, corrections, and court settings.  He was the director of the Ingham County Jail mental health services for over 20 years, as well as providing thousands of hours of expert witness testimony in court, becoming a particular expert in the complicated field of forensic toxicology.  He founded and obtained years of grant funding for Project Sentry, a forensics drug testing clinic used by the courts of Michigan. At the same time, he operated his own private counseling practice and Psychappraisal Associates, a partnership with fellow psychologist, Dr. Gary Kaufmann, providing consultation for law-enforcement agencies focusing on hiring, critical incidents, and fitness for duty examinations.  For over 30 years he worked with these agencies, retiring only 6 weeks before his passing.  He felt “on call,” for these departments and officers who worked 24/7 for the public good and felt compelled to do the same for them.  In his retirement letter to these sheriff and police departments he said, “You are all my heroes,” and he meant it.

Other than the countless individual lives he impacted, one of Jerome’s proudest professional accomplishments was being appointed to a two year task force with the federal government, working directly with drug “Czar” Dr. William Bennett and President Ronald Reagan to help shape national drug policy.  The position was a great honor and an acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the policies he had instituted within his own facilities locally in Michigan.

Jerome’s true pride though, and what he would consider his greatest accomplishment are his family.  He is survived by his wife, Sherwood, his daughter Emily Gallagher (Jeremy) Brown, sons William Hanna (Michelle) and Keith Hampton (Kristen).  He leaves behind three grandchildren, Benjamin Robert, Lucas Jay, Vivian Hannah, and two step-grandchildren, Kylie and Koby Brown, along with several nieces and nephews.  Jerry loved being called Papa by his grandchildren, he played piano with them and taught Ben especially all he knew about cars, which was a considerable amount.  Jerome’s granddaughter Vivian Hannah was born December 10, just hours before Jerry’s passing and the entire family feels as if an exchange of life has happened.  She has his piano playing fingers and also has some very big shoes to fill.

Jerome married the love of his life Sherwood Hughes (Hardwick) in Traverse City in 1970 and was always aware that the great accomplishments of his professional and personal life would not have been possible without her steady influence.  He would be the first to say she held the entire endeavor together, tending the home, running his practices, minding the budget and finances, and getting the kids off to school each day.

This is only a small glimpse of what it was like to have known Dr. G.  His intellect and lifelong intellectual curiosity was formidable.  The only thing greater was his near photographic memory, especially for people and places in the past.  On any street in Traverse City he could tell you who lived in each and every home, who owned every store, even who sat next to him in kindergarten.  He was incredibly funny and liked to learn from anyone about anything.  If you knew more than he did about a topic, be it car engines and motorcycles, to building a log cabin, to surgery, to polishing Petoskey stones…he wanted to know what you knew.  He felt most at home when he was at his summer cottage on Long Lake outside Traverse City, and the door was always open to anyone.  Unannounced visits from any number of friends were a near daily occurrence.  If heaven is the version of where you are happiest, Jerry is sitting on his deck, looking west out at the lake at sunset, having made cocktails for his gathered family, his children and brothers.  Grandkids splashing and laughing in the water below, waiting for the evening to fall, and a very late dinner to be had.  Dear neighbors and friends drop by to enjoy the communal warmth of a beautiful northern Michigan summer night surrounded by people he loved deeply and who loved him back.

The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. His family will receive relatives and friends from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, January 14th at the funeral home.

The family requests visitors to please wear masks for the visitation and funeral.

A livestream of the service will be held. Please click here to view.

A graveside memorial service and burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City sometime in the spring of 2022.  Details will follow when the date and time have been decided.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:

Hospice House of Mid-Michigan, 1210 W. Saginaw St., Lansing, MI 48915


The 180 Impact, Rally Point Defense, LLC, Aaron Smith, 303 Bittersweet Lane, Battle Creek, MI  49015 (They assist first responders, mostly police officers, to overcome burnout, depression, etc. by giving them education and resources for improved mental health).



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19 Messages to “Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Gallagher

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Gene Wriggelsworth
December 14, 2021 at 7:54 am

Jerry was a great man who will be missed! A friend you could lean on when you needed a strong shoulder. God bless Dr. Gallagher, you were a great mentor and greater person.

Dan Purtill, ELPD
December 14, 2021 at 2:49 pm

I knew Jerry from Law Enforcement activities. He was good at what he did and an upstanding person. He helped so many people. Blessing to him and family.

Jerry Segerlind
December 14, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Dr. Gallagher was my room mate at MSU from 1965 to 1967 we had much fun and have remained friends ever since. Jerry was a very passionate person who had many friends and hobbies and was fun to associate with. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

Ed Meister
December 15, 2021 at 9:41 am

Jerry was a great friend for 50 years. Loved to talk cars and bought hundreds of cars. Great memories with him and his family at their cottage, our cottage, Florida, Christmas parties, remodeling projects, and just hanging out. Most intelligent person I knew. He surely will be missed by many people.

Michael Cosgrove
December 16, 2021 at 7:17 am

We lost a wonderful friend who was a devoted husband and father. He was intelligent with a wide variety of interest foremost being cars. He could be counted on for advise during a crisis.
We will miss his stories, his laugh, his musical talent and his friendship.

Katie and Bill Parker
December 17, 2021 at 6:21 am

Jerry and his wonderful family have been dear friends from Long Lake for many years. His intelligence, wit, strong values, devotion to his family and musical talent are just a few of his many memorable attributes. We will miss him very much, but know he will live on in the hearts of his family and many friends.

Linda Lynch
December 29, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Dr. Gallagher was the one person who just always seemed to be there for me when I needed his help. He usually was so difficult to reach by phone, but during those true emergency times when I needed to reach him, he always seemed to answer. We loved sharing stories about our families, and he spoke so lovingly of his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his friends. I will miss him so much, but his words of wisdom will live on in my heart and mind forever. Thank you, Dr. Gallagher for being such a wonderful, caring person. You were a gift to so many.

Meagan (Warner) Alvarado
December 31, 2021 at 9:19 am

There are no words to write or speak that can reflect the loss our family feels with Jerry’s passing. He was an integral part of my childhood-spending summers at the cottage on Long Lake, fall at MSU games with our families, and winter taking sleigh rides. He was quick to jump in when my dad was running late for my wedding rehearsal (haha!) and played a huge role in making sure the music was incredible at the reception (people still talk about it to this day!) Our families have grown up together-through many ups and downs. Celebrations, graduations, weddings and of course the tough stuff life throws at us every once in a while. This is one of those times. His loss is felt and leaves quite a hole in the fabric of our families lives. Sending love to all whom we know who will forever be missing him.

Mike Carpenter
January 7, 2022 at 5:13 pm

Jerry and I had a long relationship dating back when he started his substance abuse program back in the late sixties at the Ingham County Jail. That professional relationship continued until my retirement in 2006. However we kept in touch over the years with visits to his Long Lake Getaway. We kind of lost contact recently, but I always knew Jerry was always there if I needed his expertise.
Jerry will definitely be missed by many.
Rest in peace my friend

Darryl and Gerrie Milarch
January 8, 2022 at 5:01 pm

Where to start. My parents and Jerry’s father were all employed at the Traverse City State Hospital back in the 30’s and 40’s. We both grew up in TC and attended school together, graduating as classmates in 1961. We drifted apart during our college years, only to reconnect after we were both married and starting our families. Since then we had developed a special relationship. Being an only child and the loss of my parents, Jerry became the brother I never had. Conversations about cars, books, building projects, travels, bourbons to name just a few. We will miss Jerry in so many ways. He was such a special person. Bless his family, as they formed such an important part of who Jerry was.It has been our privilege to have been part of his life.

Maurice Randall
January 8, 2022 at 6:24 pm

My Dad, Don Randall, met Jerry back around ’63 or ’64 when he bought a used car from my Dad. Jerry traded in his nice 1958 Chevy convertible. My Dad allowed him $350 for the trade in. They became close friends ever since. My Dad had fun driving a very rusty Ford Maverick over to Jerry’s house to see him. It looked very out of place amongst the nice homes in the area. Jerry would come out of the house to greet my Dad as he slammed the door of the car, dropping rust in his driveway. They had much fun together over the years. After my Dad’s passing, Jerry would call me periodically just to talk. He would always say how much he missed my Dad. Now, Jerry and my Dad can get together again. I was thinking about Jerry just the day before he passed away, as I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. Someday, he’ll be able to call me again.

Paul J Fulton
January 9, 2022 at 11:52 am

I am sorry to learn of the passing of Jerry. We knew each other when I worked as a Probation Officer in another life. Not only was he highly intelligent, but also had a great sense of humor. His imitation of “Mortimore Snerd” was hilarious. He was one of a kind and will be truly missed.

Jerri Kaple Boswell
January 9, 2022 at 8:34 pm

Jerry was a very special person in my life. I met him, Sherry, Emily and Bill when I married one of his best friends from graduate school in 1980. We shared many family visits in our home in MD and in MI. He was the one with his encouraging words who gave me the will to fight like h… for my life when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. What I am most grateful for with Jerry was the way he jumped right in as a stand in dad when my kids’ passed away 6 years ago. He was there for them in many ways. He will be terribly missed by me and my children. Despite our geographical distance (me in AZ) I am looking forward to a continuing relationship with his wonderful family. Rest In Peace my friend.

January 11, 2022 at 7:06 pm

A true loss …so saddened to hear of Dr. Gallaghers passing. Great Man, lots of conversations with him many years ago of life, family … best Boss I ever had.

My condolences to Sherry, Noodle, Bug, last one’s name escapes me, forgive me, getting old and senile.

Please know You all will remain in my thoughts & prayers.


Laurie M. Parker

Margaret Macksey Mikowski
January 12, 2022 at 11:36 am

I met Jerry while attending NMC and living with the Jacobs family. He played the piano with their group that we attended.

Sharon/Dennis Whipple
January 12, 2022 at 8:39 pm

I knew Jerry In his Capacity of Mental Health Director @ the Ingham County Sheriffs Office. I was Administrative Assistant to Sheriff Kenneth Preadmore and Jerry was always ready & able to answer any questions that would arise & he enjoyed talking about his family & your family Jerry & I became very good friends & I really appreciated his knowledge & his great sense of humor. He had an amazing ability to help anyone without them even knowing it. Sending many thoughts & prayers to his family.

Sandi Bement
January 14, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Dear Sherwood and family,

I was so very sorry to learn of Jerry’s passing. My late husband, John Bement, and Jerry became life-long friends when they were children spending summers at Long Lake. I was lucky to meet Jerry when John invited him to stay with us a few days before he started at MSU. He regaled us with stories of his travels through Europe staying at hostels and playing the piano for spending money. Through the years, they stayed in touch through Christmas cards and hour-long telephone conversations, vowing to get together to fish for Walleye or meet for beer and pizza. The last time I spoke to Jerry was after I had sent a Christmas card telling him of John’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. John passed away at home on November 18th, less than a month from Jerry’s passing, with assistance from Lansing Area Hospice. I truly believe these two have finally reunited and are sharing their stories and one-liners while fishing for Walleye. God Bless them.

With deepest sympathy, Sandi

Richard L. Williams
January 14, 2022 at 1:31 pm

Jerry Gallagher and I met each other in 1979 when we both were establishing ourselves in our professions. As a criminal defense attorney, I was immediately drawn to Jerry because of his love of advocating what he saw to be the truth in a given situation. He was passionate in his persuasion, and fact-based in maintaining it. He and I often shared items of common interest such as our love of playing music, cooking and our travels to far-off places. But most of all, I will miss our regular and often long phone calls as well as his visits to my office to meet his patients and to have lunch. Even up until these last few months we’d work on cases just as we had done so over the past forty-plus years. Jerry and I were true friends. He was a one-of-a-kind. I miss him very much.

Mike Kanitz
January 17, 2022 at 6:01 pm

There are no words to emphasize the feeling of loss for this dear friend.


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