Gallagher's Pittsburgh Roots

Issue Date: 
February 17, 2014

Even though he was born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., Patrick Gallagher has family roots in Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh region. His father was born in Ireland but moved with his family to Philadelphia when he was two years old. His mother was born in Sunbury, Pa., and moved to Pittsburgh in 1950 with her family when she was 12 years old. His mother’s family—grandparents Adolf and Agnes Selter and their five children—Claire (his mother), Judy, David, Greg, and Sue—grew up in the same house in the Carrick neighborhood of Pittsburgh. His mother went to school in Carrick at St. Basil’s through high school. Even though his parents eventually met in Albuquerque, they returned to be married in Pittsburgh in September 1961. 

Gallagher has fond memories of visiting Pittsburgh on family vacations “back east” when he was growing up, including looking down the hill from his grandparents’ house at the trolley lines, visiting the zoo and Downtown museums, trips to see the Pirates play at Three Rivers Stadium, trips on the Good Ship Lollipop, and visits to the “first real amusement park” in his life—Kennywood. 

In 1971, his father required medical treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. So that his mother could be in Maryland, close to his father, Gallagher lived with his grandparents in Carrick for several weeks. During this time, he attended second-grade classes at St. Basil’s grade school in Carrick—the same school that his mother had attended.

Gallagher later returned to Pittsburgh to pursue his graduate studies at Pitt. While there, working on his PhD, he met his future wife, Karen Abrahamson, who was working in Pittsburgh as an occupational therapist. They were married in June of 1991.

His grandparents lived in Pittsburgh, in the same house in Carrick, until their deaths—his grandmother in December 1996 and his grandfather in April 2011 at the age of 100 (just a few months short of his 101st birthday).