Norbert Galligan of Rye, N.Y., a devoted husband, father, son, brother, and friend, who lived and loved with passion, exuberance, and joy, died on April 12, 2022. An avid cyclist, he passed away after a biking accident on his much-traveled triathlon route in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Born on January 2, 1959, in Dublin, Ireland, he was the eldest of Kathleen and Michael Galligan’s six children. Norbert cherished and was adored by his family and recently spent two weeks with them in Ireland. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his siblings: Marie Smyth (Ciaran), Fintan (Lorna), Emer Litchfield (Conor), Declan (Sarah), Vivian (Louise); as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
Norbert Galligan’s spirit lives on most fervently in his adoring wife, his “Aman Cara”, Cliona Cronin, and his two beloved sons, Cian, a junior at University of Binghamton, and Conor, a senior at Rye High School. He supported their every endeavor and unabashedly shared his pride in their accomplishments. He was happiest surrounded by and cheering on Cliona and his boys.
Norbert met Cliona, the love of his life, on a sailing trip in 1997. They were a match made in heaven. The couple married in June 2000. Always up for an adventure, within a year they moved to Philadelphia with their newborn, Cian. They embraced life in America, settling in Wynnewood, a suburb of Philadelphia, where they welcomed their second son, Conor.
In Pennsylvania. Norbert and Cliona discovered the joys of a tight-knit American community and relished the bonds and friendships forged as they embarked on raising their young boys. In 2007, the family moved to Rye. For Norbert and Cliona, living in a close community by the water was a dream come true.
Family life in Rye was idyllic. Norbert coached soccer, was at the boys’ every event, and supported Cliona’s tireless commitment to the Rye community and to all those in need. Wanting to expand the boys’ horizons, the family traveled extensively, initially focusing their adventures on the National Parks of America and, in more recent years, ventured to China, India, Iceland, Mexico, and Europe. Norbert and Cliona’s devotion to their extended families drew them back to Ireland at least once a year. In 2021 they spent a week traveling around the country, where Norbert proudly showed his sons their heritage.
The family’s most entertaining and fun trips found them all piled in an RV — the last, a seven-day jaunt to Joshua Tree National Park, a trip inspired by Conor.
A lover of the outdoors, Mr. Galligan enjoyed sailing, hiking, skiing, and cycling, and completed the Dublin City Marathon in 1981. After developing a passion for triathlon life, he competed in more than 30 events. He was instrumental in organizing a local group of cyclists, who were like a second family to him. He was the soul of the Rye Playland Market Cycle Group and the glue that held them all together. So many members of the group remember meeting “a friendly Irish guy” on their first ride who treated them as if he’d known them forever. Rides were never the same when he wasn’t there. Whenever anyone was tiring or losing motivation, he would always say: “It’s only half an hour to go and it’s all downhill!”
“It never was, of course,” recalled Simon Bradley, “But those kind words always made you feel that bit happier and brighter. He will be in our hearts every time we get on a bike. He made us all better people.”
Norbert Galligan’s career began in Ireland in 1977 when he joined Allied Irish Banks (AIB). His affinity for relationship-building within the bank led to a steady movement through the ranks. In 2000, he accepted a senior position based in Philadelphia, eventually moving with AIB to New York. For the past ten years, he traveled the United States leading AIB’s marketing and business development efforts.
He embraced all that life put before him and inspired all who crossed his path to do the same. The family has received hundreds of tributes describing Norbert’s brilliant, kind, and generous spirit, his warm and welcoming smile, the ever-present twinkle in his eye, his buoyant sense of humor, and his appreciation of life’s smallest moments.
“He lived his life with a deep sense of gratitude, wonder, and faith in the goodness and beauty of the world,” said his family.
A funeral service was held April 20 at Church of the Resurrection. For those who have stories of photos to share, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org so his sons will have them in the years to come.
Donations in Norbert Galligan’s memory will be welcomed at The Challenged Athlete, www.challengedathletes.org.