By Emily J. Minor
COUNTY POCKET — Sandra Strosky Gallagher, a beach lover who came to Florida on a spring break getaway right after college and never lived up north again, died March 2 after a brief illness. She was 53.
Mrs. Gallagher lived in the so-called County Pocket and was well known for her animal rescue work, especially with cats. She was one of the originals from a cadre of ocean lovers who live in the small oceanfront section that is ruled by neither city nor village politics.
“The ocean was basically her yard,” said her sister, Lynn Chrzan. “People knew her for keeping things pretty along the beach.”
A New York native and one of five children, Mrs. Gallagher grew up in Lackawanna, N.Y. After high school, she attended Erie Community College, where she received a degree as a denture technician. Through the years, though, she also worked in several veterinary offices. She gave many hours and much support to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.
Chrzan said her “baby sister” went into the hospital with what they think was pneumonia and then developed a host of confusing symptoms that eventually claimed her life. “We’re not really sure what happened,” she said.
Mrs. Gallagher had been married to her husband, Brad, since 1987. They have one son, Jacob.
Although separated in age by nearly eight years, Chrzan said she and Mrs. Gallagher were always close. Their birthdays are just one week apart, and Chrzan said she remembers the day when the infant Mrs. Gallagher came home from the hospital. “My parents said, ‘Here’s your birthday present,’ and she was mine ever since,” Chrzan said.
Chrzan said the family is considering a bench along the beach to commemorate Mrs. Gallagher’s love for the ocean and her neighborhood.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 1 at Cason United Methodist Church, 342 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.
Besides her husband, son, and sister, Mrs. Gallagher is survived by three brothers, Edward, Mike and John Strosky; mother-in-law, Elsie Gallagher; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Mike and Florence Strosky, and her father-in-law, Bernard B. Gallagher Sr.
The family asks that any memorial donations be sent to Peggy Adams, 3100 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.