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April 18, 1926 - January 22, 2024
Michael (Mike) Gallo, age 97, passed away on January 22nd, 2024 at the Kavanaugh Hospice House in Des Moines, IA with his family at his side. He was a ﬁrst-generation American of Italian descent born to Adelina (Galella) and Michele Gallo in the Bronx, NY on April 18, 1926. During his youth, he often worked in the family grocery store and completed high school with a degree from the Manhattan School of Aviation Trades. When he turned 18, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and served at the end of World War II as a Corporal. During his time in the service, he was in gunnery school and armament school, and was a photographer in Okinawa, Japan to document the end of the war. Following his honorable discharge, he took additional classes to apply for college and started his college years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When his father became ill, he left school to help run the family grocery store, and later completed his Mechanical Engineering degree at New York University. He worked as an engineer for 35 years, beginning with Western Electric and transitioning with the company through several name changes. One of his jobs was helping to design the phone booth.
He was highly analytical and meticulous, and embodied DIY “Do It Yourself”. His checkbook was always balanced to the penny and everything had its place. He could solve any mechanical problem, even if it meant taking the engine out of the car and rebuilding it on his own - skills he tried to teach his two daughters. At home he always did all the work on the house, building decks, rewiring, installing, and ﬁxing pretty much everything. He also dabbled in many hobbies from sketching to oil painting, stained glass, guitar, photography, Italian cooking, and most of all, winemaking. He made close to 2,000 bottles of wine in his laundry room over 25 years of retirement. He said that his longevity was due to a glass of wine with dinner every day. He shared his wine with many and ﬁnished the last bottle less than a week before his death.
Mike met his bride Carolyn Marie Field on a Catholic Alumni Club (CAC) Ski Trip to Aspen, Colorado in 1972. They had a short courtship including a few more CAC trips, and they married in April of 1973. They took a 3-week honeymoon to explore much of Europe in a Volkswagen Beetle, including his parent’s hometown of Melﬁ, Italy. They settled in New Jersey and had 2 daughters, Susan and Linda. They were avid supporters of their daughters in everything they pursued including their education, sports, and other activities. Following their girls’ college graduations, they permanently moved to Florida where they enjoyed many of the activities their Heritage Pines community had to oﬀer in their retirement.
Mike was an avid golfer beginning over the age of 70 and played 18 holes 3 times a week up until 3 months before his death when he noticed that he began to get short of breath. He and Carolyn made many close friends in their years at Heritage Pines, and those friends kept him going after her passing 3 years ago. In addition to golﬁng at 97, Mike made time for activities with the Veterans Club, being an usher at Church, regular Sunday brunch with his friends, and guys pizza night. He still drove, could be found on a ladder maintaining his house, or surprising a young cashier by paying for his groceries on his Apple watch. He amazed many at the Hospice House with his regular use of the latest technology.
He was fortunate to lead a long and fruitful life. He was never boastful and was admired by many. He had a way of providing feedback and guidance to his children in a manner that made them listen and follow in his footsteps. He created lasting memories with so many of the people he met, both acquaintances and lifelong friends and family. He is survived by his daughters Sue (Nick) Honkamp of Des Moines, Iowa, and Linda (Chris) Elkins of Bozeman, Montana, seven grandchildren: Annie, Andrew, Mary, and Claire Honkamp and Ben, John, and Samantha Elkins, ﬁve nephews, and a sister-in-law. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Carolyn, his parents, and his brothers Ignazio and Cataldo.
Services will be held on Friday, March 15th, 2024. There will be visitation at 8:30 AM at Downing Funeral Home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 AM at St. Theresa Catholic Church, both in Spring Hill, Florida. Internment at Florida National Cemetery following Mass at 12:30pm.