By David Savastano, Editor | November 19, 2014
Shamrock Technologies VP of sales remembered as gentleman and friend
Jack Gallagher passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. He was 71.
Born in Bayonne, NJ, Jack was a graduate of Bayonne High School, and served in the US Navy. In 1964, he joined NL Chemicals, initially working for the Baker Castor Oil Division. Jack held various sales management positions in Chicago and Detroit before relocating back to New Jersey with Rheox, which became Elementis Specialties. In 1998, Jack left Elementis to join Shamrock Technologies as vice president of international sales.
Jack was highly regarded in the industry by colleagues and customers, and was honored in 2014 with the prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award from the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM).
He is survived by his fiancée, Debbie Young; his son, Tim Gallagher; his daughter, Elizabeth Berry and her husband Mike; five grandchildren, Emma, Sean, Jack, Madeliene and Reese; two brothers, Thomas and Lawrence and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jack’s memory to the Goodwill Rescue Mission (grmnewark.org) in Newark, NJ.
Jack was highly regarded by all who knew him. Colleagues and customers alike all spoke highly of Jack. His long-time colleagues remember him as a fun-loving man who truly cared about his customers.
Greg Amato, CEO at Epolin, first met Jack at Rheox.
“Jack started out as a sample room guy at Baker Castor Oil before he joined the Navy,” Amato recalled. “Because he was small, he was always one of the guys dropped down on a rope alongside the boat for the constant repainting Navy ships undergo. He used to say that’s why he was destined to stay in the coatings and inks industry. After the Navy he went back to Baker and then they were acquired by NL and that’s how Jack came to join NL and then Rheox.
“Jack was always concerned about the little guy at work,” Amato said. “If the mailroom guy, lab technician or customer service rep wasn’t happy, Jack made sure he or she was taken care of, especially at holiday time. He knew everyone’s name and that of their spouse and children. He would always ask how their family was and he was genuine about it. He was no ass-kisser.
“Jack was always the first one into work in the morning,” Amato added. “Somehow he knew every sales number for every product and sales territory on the planet. As an employee you never wanted Jack upset with you. That would not be good at all. Wherever he worked everyone just assumed Jack was the boss.
“Jack was a big fan of musical theatre on Broadway and attended many shows up until his health declined,” Amato said. “When he was a kid, his mom, a Bayonne schoolteacher, would take him to Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific and all those shows. Over the last 20 years, I would go to a lot of these revivals with Jack, and I would complain he wouldn’t attend any show written after 1962. I double-crossed him once and took him to see Rent without telling him. He didn’t care for it.”
“He was proud to be just a regular guy from humble roots in Bayonne, NJ,” Amato added. “He was pleased that his hard work resulted in success at work and in life.”
Joe Maas, president – global sales and marketing at Kronos Worldwide, Inc., knew Jack for 37 years, working together at both NL Industries and Rheox.
“Jack was incredibly energetic, charming and the consummate salesman,” Maas recalled. “In all the years I knew him, he never lost his ‘Bayonne Swagger.’ I use to ask him when he planned to retire and he always replied that he was having too much fun. I am certain he also brought that joy to all who were around him. He will be truly missed.”
Larry Weissman, who served as CEO and president of Shamrock Technologies, first met Jack at Rheox 25 years ago.
“1 was impressed with his people skills and concern that the customer comes first,” Weissman said. “Indeed, when the opportunity came, I strongly recommended that Jack become vice president of sales for Rheox, which (lucky for Rheox) happened in 1992. Later Jack joined Shamrock in 1998, and returned the favor by encouraging me to join Bill Neuberg in building Shamrock. That was Jack’s way. Once you were in his focus, he tried to do the best for you.
“Indeed, he quickly became a personal friend of mine and my wife Nancy and to this day, 25 years later, we always considered Jack family,” Weissman added. “He had that same effect on all who met him. Nancy and I will dearly miss him.”
“Jack was the penultimate salesman,” John Jilek Sr., president of inksolutions, LLC, said “The customer always came first. His integrity and character were evident in all of his dealings. He was a good friend to all of us. His passing leaves a great void in the ink industry.”
“Jack always said he was going to toughen me up to be the man I need to be,” added John Jilek Jr., vice president sales and marketing, inksolutions, LLC. “The way he used to say it truly made me feel like taking no prisoners was the way to go. He influenced me greatly, not to take crap from anyone.”
“Jack greatly contributed to the business expansion of the Japanese market,” saidJun Aoki of Sanyo Corporation of America. “He was a person of fine character, a real gentleman and a good golfer.”
His customers recalled that Jack was a gentleman who put their needs first.
“Jack was one of the finest men I have ever known,” said Diane Parisi, vice president procurement for Flint Group. “He was a gentlemen always and a dear friend. His quick wit and dry sense of humor endeared him to us even more. A great salesman but an even greater friend.”
“I have known Jack for seven years since becoming a European category leader for Sun Chemical,” said Lisa Field, European purchasing category leader, Functional Additives & Specialty Chemicals, Sun Chemical Ltd. “He was a true gentleman who always made me feel valued as a customer. His industry knowledge was vast and I always left each meeting understanding more than before. He was truly customer-focused and no request was too much trouble. His vivacious character and energy for work and life in general means he will be sorely missed by me and all that knew him.”
Joon Choo, vice president of Shamrock Technologies, worked closely with Jack upon his arrival at Shamrock, quickly forming a successful team as well as a strong friendship.
“I first met Jack in September 1998, when Bill Neuberg introduced him as our new vice president of sales,” Choo recalled. “He impressed me so much that I decided to come back from Malaysia and join the ‘Jack & Joon’ team to grow Shamrock. We have climbed quite a few good mountains together since, and we’ve both been equally conquered by many a great golf course along the way.
“Jack’s accomplishments are many, some of which have earned him the Printing Ink Pioneer Award,” Choo added. “However, Ido believe his greatest accomplishment work-wise was that he lifted everyone up to reach for personal bests. On the personal side, Jack’s greatest joy was his family, especially Debbie and the five grandkids, whom he doted much over, and loved dragging them into New York city and the theme parks.
“I have been so fortunate to have had a boss and a mentor that would say ‘Get off that little mobile toy, and get a life!’, and then drag me out to the streets in Amsterdam,” Choo added. “In like manner, he would point at a sign that said, ‘Beware of Tigers,’ and then point to the elephants roaming the beach along an Asian golf course and quip in his wry manner, ‘Look, don’t you guys know what tigers are?’ He was just full of life, and full of ability to share it.
“My best memory of Jack was on the days following September 11,” Choo noted. “We were then on the 6th hole up in northern Michigan, and had to drive back to Jersey after that, and in the car, he sang his heart out with songs from Styx and the like. Jack was a roadster and a rocker at heart, and he did it with gusto.
“Jack will be sorely missed,” Choo concluded. “There is none like him. I will miss him.”