Betty Gallagher, 1916 - 2009

Wife of first Associated Press president, longtime Santa Barbara resident

Betty Gallagher, the wife of the first president of the Associated Press, who helped him run the Berlin bureau after World War II, died Thursday. She was 93.

She died at her home in her Val Verde Casa Dorinda home.

A former Broadway actress, Betty met Wes in 1943 in New York City, as he recovered from injuries sustained in a car accident while covering the war in North Africa for the AP. In 1946, they both returned to Europe to run the Berlin Bureau of the AP.

Born in 1916 in Detroit, Betty Kelley attended the University of Michigan at age 16 and later graduated from Carnegie Tech, which is now called Carnegie Mellon, with a degree in theater in 1938. She entertained troops in the Caribbean with the USO during the beginning of World War II.

Her husband was transferred back to AP’s New York headquarters in 1951 and became general manager in 1962. Wes became the first AP president in 1972. The Gallaghers retired to Santa Barbara in 1976. Wes Gallagher died in 1997 at the age of 86.

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