Vicky Jo (not to ever be written as Joe as that’s a mans name and she would correct you in a minute) Gallagher Mundel was born on August 9, 1947 in San Jose, CA. It must have been a double Leo year as my mom took on all the characteristics of her sun sign. A true Leo with pride in how she looked, what she wore, and how people saw her. She was beautiful from the day she was born (at least that’s what she told me) and her pictures were always indications of her stunning white blonde hair and her beautiful high cheek bones and a smile that would light up a room.
Vicky Jo was born the daughter of Mabel and James Gallagher and she had one older brother named Jim but we called him uncle Fox because of his bright red hair so he remained Fox in our household. She also had a younger brother Jay who she would tell stories of taking care of daily and often having to drag along on all her dates. She grew up with a close knit family and often spending time with her grandma Virgina who she talked about being one of her favorite people in her life. She loved spending time with her aunts and uncles and would look forward to all of them coming to visit with coolers of Coors light in tow. Even though the house was tiny and the space limited, the laughter and storytelling would always be times that she remembered and cherished as a child.
Vicky met the love of her life at the early age of 17 but didn’t marry him until she was 18. Les had to get his parents permission to marry her because he was only 20. She would always tease him that he had to get permission. Les Mundel was a professional baseball player from Los Angeles that would come to San Jose, CA where the Angeles had one of their minor league baseball clubs and admits it was love at first sight for him. Vicky loved getting out of the house and a break from what she called “peeling potatoes”. She loved to go to the local ballpark with her friends and little brother, Jay. On some of her many visits she told stories of baseball players she dated like Jay Johnston who later played in the major leagues with the Angeles but she fell in love with Les Mundel and what she described as “the nicest guy she had ever met”. She knew he was the one because her mother adored him. Les would later become a part of her family.
Les and Vicky tied the knot and traveled the world during Les’s short lived professional baseball career. Vicky loved traveling but often missed her family and would tell stories of eating banana splits while Les was stuck in baseball training. The two lovers were married for 54 years and had two children. Shawn was her first born and the love she felt for him was indescribable. He grew up to be 6’10” and she was always so proud of having a tall, good looking kid that was protective of the family. Two years after her baby boy, she had the little girl she always dreamed of. They were best friends from the start with lots of shopping trips and love for stories. Her family was her greatest love and she put everything into always being there for them and making them happy.
Vicky was often found laying poolside with a bud light in the summer and getting her tan on. She loved the water but really had no desire to actually swim. She was more of a spa person and enjoyed the calm waves of the ocean. Her favorite trips were spent searching the shops at Pismo Beach and long walks on the beach. She loved a good cocktail, country music, dancing and most of all— stories. If you have never heard a Vicky story then you have clearly missed out in life. Her favorite passions were shopping, sewing her own clothes, bowling, crocheting (she was really good at crocheting after being taught by Les’s mom and dad), collecting antique dolls like her mom and especially her collection of Kewpie dolls. She had an eccentric side that loved the spiritual realm and often was interested in psychics, tarot readers, gemstones and antique jewelry.
Later in life, her greatest joy were her grandkids. They kept her young and filled her days with laughter. Her grandson Jordon was a blessing after losing her son in a car accident at 32. Jordon filled her with love and up until the day she died- she worried about him being happy. Madden and Payton came along years later and added to her love of being a grandma. She loved to make them laugh and spent many weekends and holidays with them laying beside her at night in bed. She filled them with funny stories of her past and her witty bantering back and forth with grandpa.
Vicky was a natural born comedian. Laughter was the center of her world. She was funny, sarcastic and extremely witty. Her dry sense of humor and ability to come up with phrases and words that even the grandkids would repeat with belly laughs. She loved to dress up, go out and wouldn’t leave the house without her makeup on. She would often yell “quick, get the door because I don’t have my eyebrows on.” If you met Vicky then you would have a hard time forgetting her because she had that special something that made you want more. This is why saying goodbye to the world is so difficult, not for her but for all of those that knew her. The stories won’t be the same and the world won’t nearly be as funny without her. She would want to be remembered as beautiful, young, and fun. She never wanted to become an “old fart” (her words) and would want you to share a funny story and somewhere in heaven you can guarantee that she’s laughing with you.
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