Gardening 06
Official Obituary of

David L. Gallaway

January 5, 1930 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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David Gallaway Obituary


 David Gallaway, 94, died on Friday February 9, 2024 at Friendship Village of South Hills, where he resided with Patricia Gallaway, his wife of 71 years.


Born on January 5, 1930 in Southbridge, Massachusetts to Charles and Sadye Gallaway, David grew up in Southbridge and in Newton, a suburb of Boston. He attended Munson Academy for high school followed by the Massachusetts College of Optometry, where he graduated in 1951. Following graduation, he moved to Boston, where he met Patricia Ann Barton and began their lifelong romance. They were married in October of 1953 and their first son, Michael Farrell, was born in 1954.

After serving as a military optometrist in Korea, David returned home and relocated to Pittsburgh where he started working as a sales representative for American Optical. He and Tricia welcomed their daughter Janet Kathryn in 1956, followed by Shawn Barton in 1958, and Gregory Charles in 1960. In 1963, David founded Shannon Optical, an industrial-safety and eyewear company based in Castle Shannon. In 1968, the family moved to Mount Lebanon, where Matthew Lee was born.

David enjoyed taking family vacations on Cape Cod and Long Beach Island, New Jersey. He loved the ocean. He was an avid boater and enjoyed clamming, fishing, and captaining the boat for water-skiing. He had a lifelong passion for cribbage and poker, and was famous for his competitive spirit, ribald humor, and good fortune with the cards. He loved coining creative nicknames for friends, family, and his favorite hands in cards. 

For three decades, he managed his business with great success before turning it over to Greg and Jan in 1993. He continued for many years after as a spirited mentor and business advisor. He was a true entrepreneur who was always looking for new angles and products. He also took pride in his work force and hired everyone from experienced sales reps to local high-school kids looking for summer jobs. All his children grew up working in the family business and were inspired by his determination and tenacity.

While he sometimes joked about the never-ending costs of education, he cheerfully advocated and supported education in any form, including prep schools, colleges, and graduate schools. This generosity culminated in Patricia going back to school to get her B.A. and M.A. in psychology. He remained a staunch supporter of Patricia in her forays into business consulting and political activism.

In addition to formal schooling, he also supported his children’s interests in sports—including hockey, figure skating, and running—and in music. He drove the kids to countless early morning practices and loved hearing them play their songs at family singalongs at the beach. He was particularly involved in hockey and for many years was involved in the push to build a skating rink in Mount Lebanon.

After retiring, he and Patricia spent winters in Vero Beach, Florida, where he was president of the local shuffleboard association and where he enjoyed bike riding and reading mystery novels on the beach. He loved receiving visits from his children and many grandchildren. Back in Pittsburgh, he developed a passion for gardening and deepened his lifelong fascination with birds and other wildlife. This appreciation continued after he and Patricia moved to Friendship Village, where he loved to watch wild turkeys, deer, and other critters from the window of his study. He was also a friend to every dog he ever met going back to his childhood in Boston, through his years in Korea, and the many family dogs he adopted in Pittsburgh. 

David will be buried at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville. Should you wish to make a donation in celebration of his life, please donate to The Humane Society or to a local animal shelter.


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