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Galka, Stuart “Stu” A.

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Stuart “Stu” Galka, a 51 year resident of Sonora, passed away at home with family, entering into the presence of our Lord at age 90 on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Stu was born on May 19, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Leo and Lorene (Masalkowski) Galka.

Throughout his life, Stu always imbued service to others.  He served in the United States Army during the Korean War for the army occupation of Germany.  He was in the 759th Tank Battalion on an M47 Patton tank.  During the Vietnam War he flew for the Military Air Command (MAC), flying into Vietnam & Thailand air bases as an Airline Transport Pilot for the Air Force, with the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel.

He was a track star in high school and college, shattering pole vault records of the time.  While in the military, he participated in multi-country track meets throughout Europe (some coordinated by NATO, or USAREUR (United States Army Europe), or CISM (international world level sports).  CISM is the second largest multi-sport discipline organization in the world after the International Olympic Committee.  Stu was the All-European Track Champion in 1954 for CISM & USAREUR.

He married his beloved wife, Sherry Seekell in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1956.  In 1965 they moved with their two children to California when Stu began his career as an airline pilot for Trans World Airlines (TWA), retiring as a Captain in 1990 on the Lockheed L-1011.

Stu shared a love of dogs and community service with his wife and they devoted their lives to these.  After settling in Sonora, CA in 1972, Stu raised and raced Siberian Husky sled dogs for 20 years.  In 1972, Stu and Sherry were two of the co-founders of the Sierra-Tuolumne Kennel Club (STKC) and both held offices until their retirement from the STKC in 2001.  Stu served as elected President for his entire tenure, he was also the AKC Dog Show Chairman & lead obedience instructor for 28 years.  He was an AKC Fun Match judge for Siberian Huskies, an ASCA judge for Australian Shepherds, and an obedience judge.

Stu and Sherry were both Canine Good Citizen evaluators and Therapy Dogs International (TDI) evaluators.  They have trained and evaluated over 1,000 dogs and handlers.  And their own total TDI visits to various Tuolumne County facilities exceeded 7,000 personal visits.

Stu and Sherry started their Mother Lode K9 Dog Training (MLK9) business in 2001 in order to provide ongoing training classes to the community, nutritional products, and information for dog owners.  In 2014, MLK9 was honored with the annual Community Excellence Service Award from Sierra Nonprofit Services for their assistance to the firefighters of the Rim Fire in 2013.  They donated their monetary award to the Tuolumne County Humane Society and Therapy Dogs International.  And, in 2015 Stu and Sherry received a letter from Governor Brown, Jr.’s Office of California Volunteers recognizing and thanking them for their lifelong devotion to volunteering in order to help their community.

Stu was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Sherry, his parents, and his youngest brother Gordon Galka.  Stu leaves a daughter, Loreen McMahon and her husband, Brian McMahon of CA; a son, Donald Galka, of CA; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and one step great- grandson, all of CA; two brothers, Ron (Doreen) Galka and Leo Galka; sister-in-law Denise Galka; and many other family members and friends.  Memorial gifts may be made to the Tuolumne County Humane Society, 10040 Victoria Way, Jamestown, CA 95327. Memorial prayers offered for the repose of his soul would be treasured.

Stu was a lifelong Catholic with a special devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary.  A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Sonora, CA on Friday, January 26th, 2024 at 11:00 AM.  Private family burial will follow at St. Patrick’s Catholic Mountain View Cemetery, Sonora, CA.

  • Date of Death: 11/25/2023
  • Age: 90
  • Residence: Sonora, California
  • Services: A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sonora, California on Friday, January 26, 2024 at 11AM. Private family burial will follow at St. Patrick's Catholic Mountain View Cemetery in Sonora, California.