The world lost a tremendous boxing fan, cartoonist and writer, in Bill Gallo, on Tuesday night.
The NY Daily News fixture succumbed to pneumonia at age 88. He'd been battling emphysema with the toughness befitting a Marine who soldiered on with immense bravery during some most severe circumstances in the Pacific theatre during World War II.
Though his ardor for the sport dimmed somewhat as sanctioning body silliness and promoter's tomfoolery increased in recent decades, Gallo communicated his love of the game and the special athletes who make boxing the sport to which all others aspire to. "I've always felt that the prizefighter is the noblest of all athletes," he wrote in 2009. "I've known baseball, football and basketball players, and none showed me the innocent pureness of the fighter. Tell me, fans, what sport stirs the blood more than boxing? How did all of you who witnessed the first Ali-Frazier fight feel waiting for that bell for Round 1? It's the anticipation of a great event about to happen. That, friends of the squared circle, is what makes a fight fan."
Born in Manhattan on Dec. 28, 1922, he joined the Daily News as a copy boy in 1941, and returned there after the war ended. He became the News' featured cartoonist in 1960, and was able to with simple yet elegant imagery and few words boil down the essence of what the New York-area sports fan was thinking, and more importantly, feeling.
The dual threat made the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. At that time, he talked about boxing, which was of course on the ropes in the mind of many naysayers. "Boxing is not ever going to go away," he said. "When you have a fight, that's as big as an event as there is. Whenever you hear boxing get knocked from pillar to post, once you have a great fight, it's all forgotten about."
The same won't be said of Gallo. His character, his courage, love of craft and his decency will live on forever in the stellar body of work he leaves behind.
Thursday, May 12th, from 4 PM to 8 PM
Frank E. Campbell The Funeral Chapel
1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street
New York, NY 10028
Telephone: 212 288 3500
Funeral – Friday, May 13th @10 AM
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
14 E 51st St
(between 5th Ave & Madison Ave)
New York, NY 10022
Neighborhood: Midtown East