Kathleen Gallagher Teply died Monday morning, June 6. She was our mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, mother-in-law, and friend.
Kathleen Gallagher was born in 1923 in Sedalia, Missouri. Her parents were Tom Gallagher and Catherine Rose Riley.
She knew them all
Kathleen is unique in our series of family stories. Since we began Family Nibbles in 2019, there was no other living person who knew so much about our family history. We’ve written about Pensas, Rileys, Teplys, and Gallaghers. Kathleen knew them personally.
She knew Grandma Gallagher, Ellen Dugan, who immigrated from Ireland. She lived for a time with her grandmother Mama Riley, Josephine Pensa, who she adored.
She was born to Catherine Riley Gallagher, who died when Kathleen’s brother Buddy was born. She grew up with her father Tom Gallagher and her stepmother Aggie Riley Gallagher, Catherine’s sister. She had stories about her brother Buddy and sister Jane.
She married Don Teply and knew the Teplys and Kloppenbergs from Hanover.
She corrected and challenged some of the Family Nibbles stories. And she was surprised and amazed at the many stories she didn’t know.
Early years in Sedalia
Kathleen was born October 5, 1923, in Sedalia, Missouri.
Her mother Catherine died of complications from the birth of Kathleen’s brother Tom “Buddy” in 1926.
Kathleen’s father Tom married Mary Agnes Riley in 1930. Mary Agnes was the younger sister of Tom’s first wife Catherine. In 1932, Kathleen’s sister Jane was born.
Kathleen grew up in Sedalia, surrounded by extended family. There were lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. She attended Sacred Heart School and Smith-Cotton High School.
A move to Junction City
The Depression years were difficult for Kathleen’s family. Tom had several jobs, and the family moved around a bit. By 1941, they ended up in Junction City, Kansas, and Kathleen graduated high school there.
Fort Riley, Kansas played an important role in U.S. military training and wars and was the economic engine of Junction City. During the war years, Kathleen had various jobs at the fort, working for the Red Cross and the supply depot.
Socially, she frequented the Officers’ Club and had numerous tales of her escapades.
Kathleen met Don Teply at the 1947 Fourth of July festivities at Heritage Park in downtown Junction City. In December of that year, they married.
A son Tim was born in 1948. Second son Mike was born in Junction City in 1951, and daughter Cathy in 1953.
Life in Junction City
Kathleen and Don moved to Colby, Kansas, where Don took his first teaching job. Kathleen and Don soon moved back to Junction City, and Don got a teaching job at JCHS.
The kids – Tim, Mike, and Cathy – attended St. Xavier’s School. Don taught American History at Junction City High School.
Kathleen worked for the Corps of Engineers, then went to work in the County Courthouse. She was the Deputy Treasurer of Geary County. She worked there for two decades.
A family tradition was summer camping trips to the west – Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota Badlands, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton. If you are to believe it, the family existed on cans of Dinty Moore Stew.
It was a shock. Don played tennis the day before. On December 10, 1983, Don died of a heart attack. He was age 61.
A new life in Kansas City
Two of Kathleen’s children lived in Kansas City, the other in Topeka. Kathleen’s sister Jane lived in KC. Aggie moved from Junction City to KC.
Don’s mother Anna had moved to Beaumont, Texas to live with her daughter Alice. There was no family left in Junction City.
Kathleen moved to Kansas City. She was closer to family. She lived in Gramercy condominiums, where she established social connections. It was a good move.
Kathleen developed macular degeneration in her 80s, gradually losing much of her eyesight. It hindered her social activities. She moved to Town Village, an independent living facility. She had a nice apartment and met some other residents. She lived at Town Village for 15 years.
In May 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kathleen moved from independent living to an assisted-living facility. It was a stressful time – new surroundings and no visitors. We often remarked that she was smarter and more with-it than her caregivers.
Each of her children phoned daily. After the pandemic lock-down was lifted, they visited frequently. How fortunate.
During the last few years, Kathleen struggled increasingly with daily activities. Her struggles have now been relieved.
Rest in peace, Kathleen. We’ll honor your legacy.
- Photographs of Kathleen Gallagher Teply – Jarvis and Teply Family Photographs
- Family Tree diagrams – Ancestry.com and Mark Jarvis
- Music – Just Because It’s You – Seamus Connolly – Connolly Music Collection