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Mark James Galligan, 59

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Mark James Galligan passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, in New Hampton, at the age of 59.

Mark was born in New Hampton and raised near Lawler.

He graduated with a degree in philosophy from Loras College in Dubuque in 1986. After earning his master’s degree in English from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1990, he traveled abroad, to teach English for a year in Beijing, China.

Upon returning to the U.S., he worked for Border’s Books and Music in Wezf Des Moines for over 20 years, surrounded by his love of books and people who love books. He moved back to New Hampton in 2011, where he worked for Riley’s, Inc. and became the in-home caregiver for his beloved parents.

Mark’s experience as a counselor at Shady Oaks Camp for People with Disabilities during graduate school summers played a vital role in shaping Mark’s identity. His unfailing kindness, empathy, and caring earned him a network of friends that grew to extend around the world.

After surviving a stroke in 2020, Mark continued his outward focus on others who experienced similar challenges, as a member of an on-line Stroke Survivors’ Community that became a vital part of his daily life.

Even as he faced his own challenges in recent years, Mark’s concern was for the well-being of his loved ones. With jokes to the end, he didn’t want anyone to be sad, but rather, ‘to always look on the bright side of life’.

Mark’s dry wit and comedic timing were legendary among those he knew, and even those he didn’t. His talent for the dramatic arts started in high-school and continued in college. While he “retired” from the stage after college, he continued to entertain wherever he went. Amusing himself and others, including the medical professionals who cared for him during his stroke recovery and during his hospital stay was a constant goal.

A voracious reader and prolific writer, Mark was a human database of books, music, and movies, and was the guy you wanted on your team for trivia night. Questions posed to him about most any musical works would result in a Wikipedia-like response off the top of his head: when the song was written, where it was recorded, the song length, who played the instruments on the track, and where he was the first time he heard it.

He leaves behind treasured friends, as well as his mom, Doris Galligan of New Hampton; siblings, Mike Galligan of New Hampton, Barb (Bob) Havens of Eldora, Paula (Paul) Laures of Lenexa, Kansas, Dave (Lori) Galligan of Decorah, and Diane (Dave) Fitz of Leawood, Kansas; his sister-in-law, Kelley Galligan of Lakeside, California; and five nieces and four nephews.

Mark was preceded in death by his dad, F. James Galligan, and his brother, Gary.

Online condolences may be left at, under Obituaries.

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