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Richard M. Galkin
A Man Ahead of His Time
Richard M. Galkin, visionary communications executive, died at his home on 4/18, in Boca Raton, FL., after a long illness. He was 80.
Mr. Galkin pioneered the evolution of cable television from a backwoods utility, to the leading medium of the last quarter of 20th century America. He oversaw Time Inc.’s entry into ownership of cable systems, in the 1960’s, including Manhattan Cable, where he served as president during the formation of HBO. Other innovations for which he was responsible include one of the first advertiser-supported cable programming services and the first commercial test using a cable system for data transmission in commercial and financial applications. Manhattan Cable later became Time Warner Cable which was sold in 2015, to Charter Communications.
After leaving Time Inc., Mr. Galkin established the cable franchises for Providence, North Providence and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He maintained an ownership position until its sale to Times-Mirror Corporation, in 1985.
Ultimately, Mr. Galkin, recognizing the physical limitations of cable, was instrumental in the creation, and then management, of Comsat’s groundbreaking new venture Satellite Television Corporation. This was a radical departure for a low-profile technology company that eventually paved the way for DirecTV and DishNetwork.
Mr. Galkin was born on May 1, 1938, in the Bronx and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated Brown University in 1961, and earned an MBA from Columbia, in 1963. He entered the work force at Time Inc., and later served as President of Downe Broadcasting and Executive Vice President of Bartell Broadcasters, Inc.
Mr. Galkin was married to, and loved by, the former Ellen Sanders, for 40 years. They had been splitting time between their apartment on Central Park West, and a home in Boca Raton, FL. Fittingly, Mr. and Mrs. Galkin were married at a cable convention in Las Vegas, in 1979.
For over 30 years, Mr. Galkin served on the Boards of Trustees and Directors of The Royce Funds, as well as Chairman of its Audit Committee. He helped guide the funds from $150 million in 1982, to approximately $16 billion in assets.
While in semi-retirement, Mr. Galkin served as Chairman of the City of Boca Raton Telecommunications Advisory Board for nearly 20 years, and as President of the Boca Marina Yacht Club.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ellen Sanders Galkin. Ms. Galkin was an elected officer of the American Nurses Association, The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, and the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County.
Other survivors include his brother Gary, of Saunderstown, Rhode Island, and nephews Justin Sanders, Robert Sanders, Zachary Galkin to all of whom he was a beloved father figure and mentor. To his friends, family and colleagues Mr. Galkin was a perennial “mensch” whose generosity and commitment knew no bounds. He was similarly dedicated to progressive and educational causes, supporting many organizations including Planned Parenthood, Columbia University and Brown University.
Those who knew and loved him personally would tell you about his dry wit that could bring a dinner table together in laughter! He loved his family – he was a father figure for his nephews with whom he shared lessons from his broad life experience – whether from business, travel, education or community involvement. A mentor for his brother and a role model of empathy and an understanding of human behavior for his brother and nephews who learned to navigate their own careers with this mindset. Richard always put in the time and effort to maintain friends his whole life . . . kindergarten friends, college friends, friends from all stages of his career.
A lifelong tennis player, he organized friendly competition with friends and family and inspired his nephews to adopt the same passion for the game. He loved ping-pong from an early age, eventually representing Brown University at the 1961 National Intercollegiate Table Tennis Tournament. He was also an avid billiards player – at one point even supplementing his income by winning pool games in Boston. From that point on, he always had his pool cue in the trunk of his car!
Richard had a passion for travel. He rejuvenated by traveling the less beaten paths of the world on the erstwhile PanAm’s “round the world” ticket. He later traveled the world with his wife Ellen, visiting six or seven continents (Antarctica was too cold even by New England standards).
Forever a Red Sox fan – he was bold enough to live in NYC with a Red Sox license plate holder and it was a rare day when he didn’t take his walk in Central Park proudly (or defiantly) sporting a Red Sox hat.
He managed a dual passion for New York and New England – The happiest place he could be was coastal New England with a lobster roll in hand or a plate of steamed clams in front of him….. Perhaps only rivaled by a meal at Carnegie Deli or 2nd Avenue deli for the pastrami and meringue pies.
Richard M. Galkin will be sorely missed and his memory will echo with generations to come.
Private Service will be held in Boca Raton and New York City.
Donations may be made to:
Planned Parenthood Federation of America www.ppfa.org
123 Williams Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road, Bldg AZ-79
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida
2300 North Florida Mango Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
Columbia University Graduate School of Business
New York City
Providence, Rhode Island
League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County Education Fund
P.O. Box 6208
Delray Beach, FL 33482