George H. Gallup, a former longtime resident of Rye, died on July 3, 2021, at the age of 91 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He had resided in Millbrook, N.Y., since 2005.
The youngest child of Marcia (Humphrey) and C. Westcott Gallup, he was born in 1930 in Englewood, N.J., where he attended the Englewood School for Boys. After graduating from Knox College in 1953, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army until 1955.
He spent three years at the McCall Corporation (publisher of McCall’s magazine) as field staff manager before embarking on a long and distinguished career in radio and television. From 1958 until 1963, he worked in sales and sales management at the CBS Radio Network, followed by two years as general manager of WGAN Radio in Portland, Maine. He joined the NBC Radio Network in 1965, where he became vice president of sales in 1967. He then spent five years with NBC-TV, ultimately serving as vice president of sports, specials, and international sales. In 1975, he struck out on his own, establishing Gallup Communication Services, Inc., before taking a position with the TVS Television Network. After several years as president of TVS – where he was instrumental in televising college basketball and North American Soccer League games and the National High School Cheerleading Championships – he became, in July 1980, vice president of programming at ESPN, at the time a brand-new cable channel that had launched less than a year before. From 1982 until his retirement, he was president of Gallup Broadcasting Inc., a broadcast production and consultation firm that produced specialized content, including dog shows, cheerleading and dance championships, and jump-rope competitions.
An influential figure in the early days of cable TV, he saw business and programming opportunities where others weren’t looking – and he seized and ran with them. He took pride in his work and was recognized and respected for his independent spirit, innovative yet common-sense approach to projects, and his thorough knowledge of the industry.
He also had an eye for beauty and possessed a love of art, theater, film, music, and good writing. After retiring, he took full advantage of New York’s many cultural offerings, visiting museums (the Frick Collection was one of his favorites), attending concerts – he especially loved Open Rehearsals at the New York Philharmonic – and seeing off-Broadway plays. He loved to travel and over the decades he visited places as diverse as Egypt, Easter Island, Haiti, Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Costa Rica. A skilled speaker, he was a storyteller with a great sense of humor and could be wonderfully silly at times.
He enjoyed crossword puzzles, organ concerts, Sunday football games, and silence. Reading and being in the great outdoors were two of his greatest pleasures – and he always appreciated a good cigar.
Small Point, Maine, a place dear to his heart, was a constant throughout his life. He visited Small Point annually – as a child with his parents and siblings, and later with his wife and daughters – and he loved long walks, swims in the ocean, eating lobster, gazing at the horizon, and catching up with the many old friends and members of his extended family he would inevitably run into on the beach.
His beloved wife of 37 years, Patricia “Pat” Heyer, predeceased him, as did his three siblings, C. Westcott Gallup Jr., Mary “Molly” Hand, and Marcia Hankin. He is survived by his daughters, Kim Gallup of New Milford, Conn., and Alison Gallup of Freinsheim, Germany, and devoted nieces and nephews.
Donations in George Gallup’s memory can be made to Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (caryinstitute.org), an organization he long admired and supported.