Fall 2015

A Legacy of Memories

Oh joy, that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature still remembers
What once was fugitive. –Wordsworth

The poetry of Wordsworth, featured in the play, These Embers, was center stage in the Marywood Rotunda on June 1, 1945. It was one of the many plays for which a young Terrence Gallagher, Jr. assisted his father, Terrence Gallagher, Sr., who, for many years, headed the production staff of the Marywood Theatre Department and designed the sets. Those times seem like yesterday to the son who carried on the skilled trade of his father, building not just theatrical sets, but a life richly blessed by art—as an educator, a set designer, and a visual artist. Now 91, Terry Gallagher, Jr., remembers with striking clarity the early days of Marywood’s Theatre Program.

With no dedicated theatre on campus, he helped build shows for outdoor productions on the lawn near the Science Building or the porch area of O’Reilly Hall (now Regina Hall). Indoor shows were held in the Rotunda or at community venues, such as the Temple Theatre (now Scranton Cultural Center) and the Century Club. He worked with the IHM Sisters who ran the program, Sister Consuela and Sister Camillus. He was friends with the late Dr. George Perry, a Marywood legend, who was in charge of the Theatre Department, and, later, the Communication Arts Department, for more than four decades. In fact, for eight out of A rare photo of Sister Camillus, taken behind the Motherhouse (circa 1940s). She was a key figure in the Theatre Department’s history.the ten decades since Marywood’s founding, a member of the Gallagher family has been on campus, either as a student or as an employee.

Terry recalled how Sister Consuela had to creatively stage her shows in the late 1930s. “Her theatre, if you want to call it that, was located at what was then the back campus. It was nothing more than a rise (in the landscape) and surrounded by trees,” he observed. “If she used scenery at all, it was small set pieces, profiles—it could be easily taken off, easily put on. There were no big major sets.”

Some plays took special expertise to fulfill the vision of Sister Camillus, such as staging Romeo and Juliet in the arches of O’Reilly (now Regina) Hall. Terry remembered, “We took the existing arches and built a balcony—full-scale, three-dimensional, attached to the columns. There were vines all around it, and it was extremely high, which was perfect…each arch was something, bits of the setting…That was the best play I ever worked on. It was tough—11 scene changes. Every single person involved in that show burst into tears (of joy). I never saw anything like it.”

The commute to Marywood was different in those days. “My father didn’t drive a car. We always took the streetcar,” Terry said. “I’d meet him in town, and we’d go up on the Green Ridge Suburban, because we had no other way to go. (The work we did at Marywood) was all done after work, and we’d work sometimes till close to midnight. We’d take the last streetcar home out of Marywood and come back downtown.”

He recalled that Sister Camillus would feed the hungry stage crew by sending for snacks from Hank’s, a little “hoagie” shop still in operation on Woodlawn Street. Perhaps from the stress of putting together such excellent productions, both the elder Gallagher and Sister Camillus shared an unfortunate ailment—ulcers. “Sister Camillus had ulcers like my father—so they were sympatico in that regard,” Terry stated. “She drove herself even harder than she drove the cast, and she drove the cast pretty hard. But I remember, she always had a little bottle of heavy cream at the footlights, so if she got attacked (by ulcers)…the heavy cream seemed to relieve her.”

The heavy cream required to soothe burning ulcers was nothing compared to the outwardly calm demeanor of Sister Camillus herself, which ensured the show would, most certainly, go on. When Marywood staged its first production in Assumption Hall (now Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts) in 1952 (Brigadoon), Sister Camillus warded off potential disaster. “She was so cool under fire,” said Terry. “The castle was hung from the catwalk, and one of the ropes broke. It was hanging and starting to twist. That was a heavy set. It was a 16-foot piece, and it was pretty well backstage. She signaled the cast and was able to get them to move upstage, because if that thing ever fell on anybody, it would have killed them. She didn’t miss a beat, never closed the curtain, and thank God it didn’t fall.”

Much of what Terry enjoyed, from work to his personal life, flowed from his experiences at Marywood. He served in the U.S. Army at Fort Eustis, Virginia, as an artillery instructor, and worked as a scientific illustrator for the Agriculture Department. He attended Kutztown on the G.I. Bill and earned his bachelor’s degree in art education. Terry decided to come back to Scranton to teach, planning to relocate to Washington, D.C., if teaching proved unfulfilling. In hindsight, he said, returning to Scranton was “the best decision I ever made.” He met his wife, Rosemary Fiorani Gallagher ’52, at Marywood. Rosemary graduated second in her class from Marywood Seminary and near the top of her class at Marywood College. She won several medals at Commencement, earned membership in multiple honor societies, and received a B.A. in French. Her class was the first to graduate on campus. The ceremony was held in what was, at the time, the Rosary Field House. “We had to walk over wooden planks to get there, because there were still muddy areas (due to construction),” remembered Rosemary.

She recalled her favorite IHM Sisters included Sister Ann Francis, Sister Bernadette, Sister St. Mary, and Sister Paulinus. “I won a scholarship to Marywood, but my mother wouldn’t let me take it, because she felt that they could afford to send me to school,” said Rosemary. “She thought that if I took that scholarship, then someone who truly needed it wouldn’t be able to attend Marywood and get an education, so I had to decline it.”

Regarding her relationship with Terry, she recollected, “My dear friend was an art major, and they were all crazy about Terry…My friend, Evangeline, loved to dance, and I loved to dance too, but she told me (after inviting Terry to a dance), ‘I am never going to take him to another dance.’ I asked, ‘Why? He’s a nice guy.’ She said, ‘All he wants to do is talk about art, and I want to dance! Next time, you invite him.’ So, that’s what I did.”

Terry described how he finally popped the question to his future bride. “We were going together for a while, and I said, ‘Swan Lake is playing in New York. Let’s go.’ She said, ‘I can’t go out of the state with you. We’re not married!’ So, I said, ‘Let’s get married.’” They got married in December 1952 and celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary this past year. One of their wedding attendants was Dr. George Perry, who also served as godfather to one of their daughters. It was a lifelong friendship, lasting until Dr. Perry’s death in 2004.

The Gallagher Family’s connection to Marywood would eventually include their daughter, Francine Gallagher ’75, and their grandson, Michael Paciorka ’00.

Francine initially wanted to go away to college; once she got acclimated to Marywood, however, she found that her reluctant choice was the right one. Francine pursued a B.A. in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education, which was the perfect fit. “(Teaching) was always something I wanted to do. I was the oldest of four; it was a new and upcoming career, and I worked in the field for 23 years at Head Start prior to retiring,” she said. Her student years at Marywood during the 1970s definitely reflected a time of change, but Francine said a certain level of decorum was expected of all students. “You had to dress up for class. You couldn’t wear jeans or dress in any way that would be perceived as sloppy,” she stated. “You could not wear pants before 5 p.m.”

She also remembered the notorious loudspeaker announcements, with declarations such as, “There will be a man on fourth floor!” Men—even fathers helping their daughters move in or out of their rooms—were not allowed in the residence halls without proper clearance and the ubiquitous herald of their presence. Her favorite teacher was Dr. O. Fintan Kavanaugh, a native of Ireland. Francine got a Christmas card postmarked from Ireland a few years ago, and, sure enough, the card brought Yuletide greetings from her favorite (now retired) Marywood professor.

Grandson Michael Paciorka chose to study graphic design, citing his grandfather’s fine example, both as an artist and as human being. While Michael was a student, Marywood made the historic transition from college to university status. Recalling it as a period of tremendous growth, he noted, “When I was attending Marywood, it was basically the dawn of graphic design. I got to come in early and see it grow as I was there. I’m glad I attended when I did.”

He got an internship with Fast Signs, which turned into full-time employment upon his graduation with a B.F.A in Graphic Design in 2000. Fifteen years later, he’s still with the company. Michael recalled Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan IHM, now retired, former Chairperson of the Art Department, as a great influence. “Sister Cor was a huge help to me throughout my whole time at Marywood,” he said. “She was amazing.”

One thing held dear by all in the Gallagher Family is the example set by Terry. For most of his life, Terry worked tirelessly in multiple jobs. In addition to teaching and supervising art teachers in the Scranton School District, he taught at several colleges in the region (including Marywood), did design work for area televisions stations, and worked with theatrical productions at Marywood and throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. He also did commissioned art projects. A true pioneer in his approach to art and the teaching of art, Terry earned numerous awards, commendations, and recognitions—some on a national level—for his distinguished work and dedication. He was a valued mentor and friend to countless individuals, especially young people.

After years of being the go-to artist/art educator in the region, Terry decided to retire in 1983. Yet, an artist is always an artist. He still attends stage productions in the area and at Marywood whenever possible. He still marvels at a good show, a meaningful design, or a creative concept. The Gallaghers’ home is an aesthetic testament to Terry’s many talents, demonstrated through a variety of media, including mosaics, paintings, calligraphy, and drawings. His artwork is beautifully featured throughout the couple’s Green Ridge home.

“I started working at Marywood, because I realized it was a way to establish a closer relationship with my father, but I did get to love Marywood and the work I did there,” Terry said. “Marywood did some very ambitious stuff…what I did there, what I learned there, really followed me throughout my life.”


Pictured Left to right, are Francine Gallagher ’75, Terry Gallagher, Jr., Rosemary Fiorani Gallagher ’52, and Michael Paciorka ’00.

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