Alma Jeane “AJ” Gallaher, 95, of Green Tree, formerly of Crafton, died peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 12.
AJ started as a telephone operator and worked her way up to force manager in charge of many employees; at one point she was the highest ranking female manager in Bell of Pennsylvania. She was the most senior manager with responsibilities for staff training, development and oversight and traveled often to set up new branches. She retained that benevolent managerial bearing the rest of her life.
For years AJ was the matriarch of the family. She often said that for someone who never married, she was very lucky to have so many family members who loved her. In 2016 she was the oldest attendee at the Klee reunion, winning a coveted bag of candy.
She could discuss investment planning and Steelers offensive strategies with equal skill and enthusiasm. She loved flowers and had a green thumb, especially with African violets and backyard tomatoes at her longtime home on Steuben Street. She treasured her collection of Hummel figurines, which was started by her mother.
AJ was profoundly grateful. When she was in the hospital, she would thank everyone for their work, from the doctors and nurses to the people who brought food trays and emptied the trash. She was kind to and genuinely interested in everyone. She developed close (and sometimes feisty) relationships with many of her caregivers, especially Debra Evans and Kate Guyer.
AJ loved taking people to favorite restaurants — and picking up the check. Her generosity included volunteering for many years at the Green Door soup kitchen. A preacher’s kid, she had an iron-strong faith and was devoted to Crafton Christian Church and its various identities after the church moved to Windhaven Road.
She loved to sing and still knew many hymns by heart; for many years she had her own special seat of honor at a family Christmas Eve sing-along and cookie social.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ephraim Z and Margaret Gallaher; her sister, Thelma Gosney; a stillborn sister, Katherine; her niece and nephew, Linda G. and Frank Brown. She is survived by nephews James Gosney (Toni) of Houston; John Gosney (Marie) of Bridgeport, Ohio; niece-in-law Linda Brown of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; great-nieces and nephews Laura Brown of Pittsburgh; Chris Brown (Debbie) of Dublin, Ohio; Jeff Gosney (Linda) of Katy, Texas; Allison Gosney of Falls Church, Va.; cousins Martha Robertson Whitehouse and Norma Robertson Schlosser (Norbert); Colleen Fregiato (Jim) of Wheeling; her namesake, Alma Jeane “Little AJ” Neely (Jeff), and a host of family and friends. If all our stories about her were written, PNC Park could not contain them.
Visitation at the HERSHBERGER-STOVER INC. FUNERAL HOME, 170 Noble Ave., Crafton, on Tuesday 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Restoration Church of Christ, 1040 E. Windhaven Road, Pgh., PA 15205. Everyone please meet at church. Interment in Ebensburg, PA.
Her last words were “Thank you.”