Robert Gallagher

Robert Patrick (Big G) Gallagher, 82, of Waukon passed away peacefully November 25, 2017 at Thornton Manor in Lansing after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 2 at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon with burial at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Waukon. Friends may call Friday, December 1 from 4-8 p.m. at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon.

Robert was born March 28, 1935 on the family farm in the Hanover area of rural Waukon to Maurice and Estella (Dahlen) Gallagher. He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse but left before beginning the eighth grade to help support the family farm after the passing of his father.

When he was 19, he joined the Air Force. He served from 1954 to 1958 and was stationed in Germany as an airplane mechanic. He was able to tour many parts of Europe during his time in the service and was also able to obtain his GED, which he was very proud of. Bob continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves from 1958 to 1962 after returning to the U.S.

After returning home, he began working in auto body repair at the Ford garage in Waukon. In the late 1960s he purchased a small service station at the east edge of Waukon and started Big G Auto Body Repair Shop, which he owned and operated for over 50 years. Over those years, he mentored many young people to pass on his knowledge. Bob truly enjoyed repairing any type of vehicle but had a passion for restoring antique vehicles, many of which won national restoration awards.

One Sunday morning in 1959 outside of a café in Lansing, Bob met the love of his life. After meeting her, he told his buddies he was going to marry her. After a lot of convincing, she agreed to go out on a date and the rest is history, as the old saying goes. July 29, 1961, he married Connie Wild. They raised three children: Shawn, Craig and Michelle.

Bob was one of the founding members of the Allamakee Antique Auto Club and was the president for many years. He was also a judge for the Antique Auto Club of America, judging at many events across the Midwest. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, the Old Style Auto Club of La Crosse and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Waukon.

Bob enjoyed antique and classic cars and trucks, anything with wheels, the river, camping with friends and family, card club, Winters in Arizona, “putzing” around the shed, golf (sort of!), precious time with his family and reminiscing about the old days.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings: Vernon, Fr. Maurice, Dorothy Deeney, Thomas, Idella Bresnahan and Karen Sweet. He is survived by his wife, Connie; his children and grandchildren: Shawn (Tina) Gallagher of Cedar Rapids and their children, Chase and Corbin, Craig (Annette) Gallagher of Solon and their children, Taite and Paige, and Michelle Bakke of Lisbon and her children, Justin, Jordin (Hannah Colvin) and Jenna; his siblings: Joe (Inez) Gallagher and Don (Char) Gallagher; and a sister in-law Patti Wild (Joe Strobel).

Pallbearers will be Bob’s grandchildren and Dan Gallagher, a nephew of Bob’s.

Bob was a devoted family man and enjoyed every minute with his kids, grandkids, siblings, nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by all.

Online condolences may be left at

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