On the morning of Saturday, June 8, 2019, this world lost a true Renaissance Man when Loren Vernon Gallagher opened Heaven’s door to see what was on the other side. While his sudden passing is heartbreaking, Loren would want us to take solace knowing he took his last breath while sitting in his most cherished place—the cockpit of his very own flying machine.
Loren was born April 6, 1946, to Vernon and Delores (Knoll) Gallagher. He often described his Minnesota City, Minn., upbringing as idyllic, almost Mark Twain-like. His days were filled with farm chores, reading the newspaper to his grandparents, fishing in the slews of the Mississippi River, and pulling little-brother pranks on his older sisters, Marilyn and Sharon.
After graduating from Winona Senior High School, Loren was accepted to the University of Notre Dame, but chose to remain close to his roots while earning his bachelor’s degree in political science at Winona State University. He kept the bills paid by playing guitar in bands with disparate names like The Tarantulas and New World Congregation.
Shortly after college, Loren took a one-way road trip to California, where he discovered, and was immediately drawn to, the intricacies and adventure of flight. He soon bought his first plane—a Piper Arrow 200—and eventually earned multiple pilot ratings, including Single Engine Land and Sea, Multi-Engine Land, Instrumental, and Commercial Pilot. His absolute favorite aircraft was his twin-engine Cessna 310.
While teaching in San Diego, Loren became fascinated with the traditions of the Far East, leading him to earn a master’s degree in International Government and Chinese language, from San Diego State University and the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Determined to completely immerse himself in both the traditional Chinese and indigenous Taiwanese cultures, Loren became fluent in Mandarin Chinese, a connoisseur of Asian cuisine, and a devoted student of the martial arts—earning a black belt in karate.
Upon returning to the U.S., Loren turned his unbridled energy towards business. He often joked, “I got so tired of dealing with clueless corporate lawyers, I decided to join the ranks.” In 1982, he received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Loren is renowned and respected throughout the vacation ownership industry—having served as executive vice-president and general counsel of Pacific Monarch Resorts and most recently, president and chief executive officer of Vacation Resorts International and Trading Places International.
Just when he thought he was destined for perma-bachelorhood, Loren met the love of his life—Kathryn Helen Rhoades. Loren and Kathryn married July 2, 1997, and are the very proud parents of Andrew Loren Gallagher and Hannah Marie Fay Gallagher.
Loren is greatly admired for his generosity, his obsessive drive to absorb the world around him, his natural ability to mentor others through difficult business decisions and personal challenges, and a tremendous level of integrity that is otherwise in short supply in today’s world.
Loren lived an incredibly full life. His regrets were few but include eating Chinese food in Wisconsin, selling his sexy red ‘58 Corvette, and briefly wearing bell-bottom pants while sporting an afro.
Beginning at 2 p.m. Aug. 4, family, friends and some local barflies will gather in Wabasha, at Slippery’s Bar & Grill, which is proudly owned and operated by Loren’s nephew, Curt. The afternoon will be filled with dancing, laughter and celebrating Loren’s life. Anyone wearing black and/or not smiling will be denied admission. "Life is short. Always choose happiness."