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Jo Bales Gallagher, 91 of Black Mountain, passed away Thursday, October 4, 2018. She was born in Morristown, TN to William White Bales and Jennie Susong Bales. Jo earned her BA degree from Mary Baldwin College in 1948 and her music degree from East Tennessee State College. She received the Service to Church Award from Mary Baldwin College in 2004.
She grew up in Morristown, TN, eventually inheriting the family Chucky Bend Farm where she resided for several years after residing in Johnson City, TN, Charleston, W VA and Kansas City, KS. Many summers were spent in Montreat attending or leading conferences and running the Montreat Conference Center bookstore. She worked for the national staff of the Presbyterian Church USA in Atlanta, GA and Louisville, KY and was a driving force on the Committee on Women’s Concerns. Jo then moved to Richmond, VA where she was instrumental in establishing the network of Presbyterian Resource Centers across the denomination. She established the Resource Center Subscription program that provided denominational resources to centers and again, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Ecumenical Resource Center Gathering and later the National Training Center for Resource Center Directors at Union Theological Seminary. Most important to Jo was connecting the faithful to Palestine, the cradle of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, raising awareness on the issues in the region and the Palestinian conflict. Her work has been foundational for those involved in or benefitting from Resource Center Ministry.
Jo moved to Black Mountain in 2006 where she began her work with the Presbytery of Western North Carolina, resourcing churches in the presbytery and advocating for a more state-of-the- art resource center. Jo spent countless hours fundraising, securing volunteers, inventorying and establishing an online program for resources. She was instrumental in getting the Resource Center moved from the Presbytery offices in Morganton NC to Montreat NC, where it could be better utilized by Presbytery’s members. Much time was dedicated to this task, and as a small thank you, upon achievement of this move, in July 2012 the center was justly renamed “The Jo Bales Gallagher Resource Center.” Jo’s service didn’t stop with the completion of the move. She aptly trained directors and volunteers, selected resources for the center and its users, wrote grants and articles, chaired, co-chaired, and then served as a consultant to the Resource Center Task Force. She also served as liaison to the Christian Education Committee of Presbytery. Jo continued to be the most faithful financial contributor to the center until its closing last year.
Her passion, focus and dedication in life was to bring light and attention to those involved in conflict and those subjected to injustices through promoting civil and human rights, dignity and advocating for peace among all people. This was carried out by her relentless work leading educational tours to Haiti, Africa and the Middle East, co-producing many educational videos and attending and speaking at NGO conferences in NYC, Copenhagen, Brussels and Geneva.
She loved the NC and Switzerland mountains, symphonic and choral music, preserving heritage, endless conversations with old and new acquaintances and time with her family.
Jo is survived by sons Clark Gallagher of Branson, MO, David Gallagher of Memphis, TN and daughter and son in-law Jennie and Chafin Rhyne of Asheville, NC; grandsons Austin and Cutter Gallagher, along with a brother and sister in-law Bill and Marylynn Bales of Morristown, TN and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial and celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 11:00 am at the Montreat Presbyterian Church in the Upper Anderson Auditorium, Lookout Road, Montreat, NC 28757. In lieu of flowers, the family request that you donate to www.memorycare.org or www.montreatchurch.org. The family would also appreciate if friends would write and share memories of Jo: 60 North Market Street, Unit 605 Asheville, NC 28801. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be caring for the Gallagher Family.