An Exercise in Semantics


Joanne Gallinghouse loved the English language. Not only was she mindful of the words she chose to communicate her ideas, but she was a stickler for grammar. When we received an updated edition of the AP Stylebook, Joanne showed it off like a kid on Christmas morning. She got a kick out of social media posts that showcased how comma placement or a typo could change the context of an entire statement. And, the Oxford comma—we all knew that was dangerous territory. (She hated it!)

As we continue to celebrate Jo’s life, it is ironic that we struggle with a question of redundancy with regard to those who knew her and those who loved her. When it comes to Joanne Gallinghouse, these terms are one and the same. It was impossible to know her and NOT love her. 

She was a kind and generous soul: a dedicated wife, loving daughter, loyal friend and selfless mentor. At first glance, she may have appeared to be intimidating. Her tall frame, stylish wardrobe and perfectly matched accessories could make the most confident of us envious. Yet, more striking than her appearance was her ability to make you feel totally at home. She had a wonderful laugh. And you were guaranteed to hear her laughter at least once during every conversation.

The grace she showed over the last few years throughout her husband Walter’s illness and death was admirable. Despite the toll it took on her, she remained connected with her family, friends and employees. She was genuinely interested in other people’s lives. She knew when we needed advice or when we just needed someone to listen. 

While our time with Joanne was mostly spent inside the office, the lessons she taught went far beyond the practical applications of advertising, marketing and publishing. She touched our hearts and inspired our minds, just as she did with everyone she met. 

There is an Irish saying that hangs in our  office kitchen: 

May those who love us, love us, 

And those who don’t love us,

May God turn their hearts,

And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,

May He turn their ankles,

So we’ll know them by their limping. 

But this was never a worry for Joanne. No one she knew had a limp. 

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