Andrew Gallegos Obituary (1940 – 2021) – Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Lalo Gallegos (Andy)
07/01/1940 – 08/11/2021
Salt Lake City, Utah – Andrew Lalo Gallegos (Andy), 81 years old, died on Monday, November 8, 2021 in Salt Lake City of complications from cardiovascular disease and related dementia. He was born on January 7, 1940 in La Jara, New Mexico, to Elia Sandoval and Alphonso T. Gallegos. He was married to Joan Marian Marsh on December 8, 1984 in Midvale. They were happily married for 38 years and very devoted to each other.
In 1941, Andy moved his family to Salt Lake City at a young age. He attended West High School and was the first president of the Hispanic student body. He was an excellent athlete and was a Golden Gloves Boxing Champion. He wrestled and played tennis for his high school. Andy graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Brotherhood.
Andy, a Vietnam-era veteran, was stationed at Fort Amadore in the Panama Canal Zone as an intelligence analyst. Andy was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1965.
He worked for United Airlines as a Marketing Manager in Detroit, Cleveland and San Francisco. When he returned to Salt Lake City, he became executive director of the Salt Lake Community Action Program from 1973 to 1976. Andy has always stood up for the poor and underserved minorities. He proudly shared stories of how his community “incitively” led then-President Richard Nixon to threaten to confiscate the agency’s federal funds. He founded the Institute for Personnel Development, now known as Central de la Familia, one of the largest social services in the state. He founded the Utah Hispanic Democratic Caucus and was a key organizer of the first Utah Chicano Conference in the 1970s.
In the late 1970s, Governor Matheson asked Andy to work for his government. He brought together social services across the state and co-authored a book, The Unification of Social Services: The Utah Experience (published by the University of Utah Press), which documents that work and leadership. He later became Executive Director of Social Services in 1981 and was the first Hispanic cabinet member to serve in the state government. Until 1983 he was managing director. From 1980 to 1983 Andy was an adjunct professor at the University of Utah’s College of Social Work, teaching doctoral students.
Andy then met his future wife, they fell in love and were married on December 8, 1984 by a justice of the peace in Midvale. Later in 1989, they would have their marriage performed in the Catholic Church in the parish of St. Ambrose.
Andy founded Impact Business Consultants, where he worked with the US Small Business Administration to assist minority-owned companies in lending and developing business, financial and marketing plans. In 1985 he received the Small Business Advocate Award from this organization for his remarkable achievements.
In the late 1980s, Andy had his proudest accomplishments, fathering two girls, Audrey and Sarah. He was a devoted father, and the girls’ fondest memories are father-daughter dates every Thursday at the Red Butte Cafe, enjoying posole soup and lively discussions. Andy instilled his love for social justice and politics in both daughters and was deeply proud of their accomplishments.
From 1995 until his retirement in 2002, he was director of marketing and ridesharing for the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). Andy was very proud to have entered the winning name TRAX for the new light rail system in a 1999 competition organized by Dan Jones and Associates and FJC & N Advertising. Andy and his wife Joan then received a free lifetime pass to use the TRAX system. He has received numerous awards for UTA television advertising and a national award for Best Website in Transportation as it took UTA driver numbers to new levels.
His active work history did not prevent him from enjoying a lot of fun activities. Andy loved skiing with his family and his favorite runs were on Snowbird. In the 1990s, Andy and his family were involved in the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. He loved to travel and had two dream vacations in the Amazon rainforest and in France. His hobbies were golf, gardening, and he built a hiking trail behind his house in Emigration Canyon.
His community service was lifelong and extensive. Not afraid of controversy, his strong leadership skills accepted the challenge of chairing the South High School Closure Committee while serving on the Salt Lake School District Boundary Committee. In 1982 he was a member of the US State Department delegation to the Southeast Asian Refugee Relocation in Manilla, Philippines, where Andy helped design national refugee programs for the Vietnamese. As Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Utah Catholic Congregation, Andy led the construction of the St. Vincent’s de Paul Soup Kitchen and the Bishop Weigand Day Center for the Homeless. In 2018, he received the Utah Coalition of La Raza’s Lifetime Achievement Award for longstanding leadership, public service, and advocacy in the Latino community.
Andy leaves behind his wife (Joan), daughters Audrey and Sarah (Anton), brothers Alphonso, Dick and sister Gloria Peters (Bill) and his beloved dogs Flounder, Bing and Frankie. In death he was preceded by his parents Elia and Alphonso T. as well as the brothers Epifanio, Arthur, Joe Fred, Efren and sister Josephine.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at the University of Utah’s Red Butte Gardens Orangery from 10 a.m. with light refreshments. At 10:30 am, memories are shared by family members and close friends, along with a short film about Andy’s life. Then a brunch will be served in the southwest. For those who cannot be there in person, the funeral service will be broadcast live. Please contact Sarah Gallegos Bielecka at [email protected] get a link.
In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate donations to Defenders of Wildlife or Catholic Community Services of Utah. Please come to the Celebration of Life to honor the life of this indigenous pioneer!
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune November 11-14, 2021.