Marion is home to a true champion for the game of golf, and the future of golf.
Jim Gallagher, Sr. and his wife, “Janie,” moved to Marion, IN from Johnstown, PA in 1961. The golf pro at Meshingomesia Country Club had placed an ad in a magazine in search of an assistant, and Gallagher took on the opportunity. He served as assistant pro there for 4 years, then became the pro for many decades until he retired in 2000, but without ending his mission.
Jim Sr. is undoubtedly a well-known figure in the world of golf: a 50-year member of the PGA, 3‑time president, and PGA Professional of the Year in ’73 and ’78. In 1996, the Indiana Golf Association inducted him into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame, the highest recognition for golf in the state which he shares with his son, Jim Jr., who was inducted in ‘94.
Jim Sr. champions for youth golf. One way is through the YMCA Junior Golf Camp he co-founded in 1985. He continues to work with youth through the clinic and more at age 82. He founded the Junior Golfers of Grant County. In 1989, he was given the Junior Golf Leader Award through the PGA. From 1985 until 2005, the Gallagher family with massive support raised over a ½ million dollars toward the Junior Golf Fund through the annual Gallagher & Friends Skins Game.
Gallagher has made quite an impression in Marion, the state, and across the country through golf. He and his wife raised 3 children to succeed in the game as professional athletes. Each of their individual accomplishments in the sport earned the Gallaghers the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family of the Year Award in 1990.
Jim Sr. keeps active at the Meshingomesia Country Club helping maintain the grounds, working at the pro shop, instructing golf, and working out regularly as a member of the Y. He and his wife are longtime members of St. Paul Catholic Church. The family is spread out around the country, and reportedly all happy and healthy.
Mayor Jess Alumbaugh has looked up to Jim Sr. for many years. “Sr. has devoted his life to teaching individuals the game of golf, many times at his own expense. He has been teaching young people the game of golf as well as life lessons. The City of Marion is proud of his daughter and two sons, all three of which have brought honor to our city. We are thankful for the example he has been to this community not only through sport, but in daily life.”
Jim Sr. encouraged parents to get their kids involved in golf. “It’s a game they can play now and for the rest of their lives. It’s also something multiple generations can do together.”
Many more hold Jim Sr. in high regard.
“Jim is an icon, gem, and advocate for junior golf and the game in general. He is a prize to this community and we are blessed to have him.” – Dr. Jeff Bragg, Marion Family Practice
“He’s one of the most giving people I know for the purpose of junior golf and expanding golf in the community. It is an honor to know him and the whole family and I’ve really enjoyed our relationship.” – Steve Turner, Pro Prints Gear