Hoover basketball’s Don Galleher dies at 88

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By Shavarsh Devoian

Don Galleher, a 1949 Hoover High graduate and an assistant coach for the Tornado boys’ basketball team for the past 10 years, died Monday at his home in Glendale. Galleher, who had a seven-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, was 88.

“My dad was my hero,” Tim Galleher said. “People asked me, ‘who do you want to be when you grow up?’ It was always my dad.”

Don Galleher was born in Glendale and attended Hoover, where he met Mary, his wife of 65 years. After graduating from Hoover in 1949, he studied at Occidental College and became active in the United Methodist church. 

Don Galleher had a passion for helping others. Even though his son jokingly admitted that his dad did not know much about basketball, Don Galleher wanted to make a difference in the lives of youth, so he joined Jack Van Patten, his longtime neighbor, on the Hoover bench.

“He is just a great example of loyalty and dedication,” Van Patten said. 

Hoover Principal Jennifer Earl noticed Don Galleher’s love for the school.

“Don was one of Hoover’s biggest supporters,” she said. “It didn’t feel like a boys’ basketball game without him on the bench. Every moment I got to spend with him was true joy. I look forward to coming together to celebrate his beautiful spirit. He’s a true Hoover legacy.”

Don Galleher is survived by his wife, Mary, his two children, Tim and Kathy, and his four grandchildren.

Tim Galleher aid there will be a memorial service for his father once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.