Jon Joseph Gallo, JD, TEP died on June 7, 2014, at the age of 72, after a 19-month battle with cancer.
Jon was born in Santa Monica, California. He attended Hollywood High School, Occidental College, and UCLA Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and Law Review.
In 1967, Jon joined the law firm which would become known as Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP. The firm, then located on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, had been founded eight years earlier, and Jon became its ninth attorney. He would spend his entire career there. Soon after joining the firm, Jon began to draft wills and trusts, and began what would become a nationally recognized career in Estate Planning. During a period when other firms eliminated their estate planning practices, Greenberg Glusker’s grew under Jon’s guidance. At the time of Jon’s death, the department consisted of eight full-time attorneys.
Jon had a brilliant mind and was an extremely gifted speaker. His former partner Robert Bennett described him as “bright off the charts, with the most creative mind I ever encountered in the practice.” Stephen Akers, a Managing Director of Bessmer Trust who worked with Jon at the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) described him as being “one of a small handful of national iconic figures in the estate planning community.” Jon was a regular speaker at every major estate planning conference in the country. Financial planners sought him out to address their most important clients.
Jon and his wife, Dr. Eileen Gallo, a nationally known psychotherapist, started the Gallo Institute and began speaking across the country about the psychology of money and raising financially intelligent children. They wrote two books together, Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children (McGraw Hill/Contemporary 2002), which Time Magazine described as “a guide for wealthy parents on how to raise fiscally responsible children,” and The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps To Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children (Penguin USA/New American Library 2005).
Along with Eileen, Jon developed The Financial Skills Trust and other innovative and sophisticated, tax-based wealth transfer strategies designed to teach responsible wealth management.
Jon was a Fellow of ACTEC, an Academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law and a member of the Los Angeles Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Professionals (STEP). He established the American Bar Association’s Committee on the Psychological and Emotional Issues of Estate Planning. He was a Founding Member of the University of California Los Angeles Estate Planning Institute Advisory Board, serving for many years as the Chair of the University of California Los Angeles School of Law Institute on Estate Planning. He was also a Founding Member of the University of Southern California Probate and Trust Conference and the New York University Family Wealth Institute. He chaired several American Bar Association Committees. Jon chaired the Sub-committee on Emerging Adulthood of the Family Business Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, for which Eileen served as Professional Advisor. He was included in Worth Magazine’s Top 100 Attorneys, 2007, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Best Lawyers in America, and Superlawyers.
Jon gave his last speech to the Institute on Tax, Estate Planning and the Economy sponsored by STEP and University of California Irvine School of Law in January 2014. STEP has announced that beginning in January 2015, the keynote address at all future STEP Institutes on Tax, Estate Planning and the Economy, which will be co-sponsored by STEP and the University of California Los Angeles School of Law, will be known as the Jon Gallo Memorial Lecture.
Jon loved photography. He took incredible photographs of his son’s football games as well as vivid portraits of animals in the African wild, scenic South American landscapes, and even a budding flower in the backyard. Jon enjoyed fishing. He took the day boat out of the Marina and never came back empty-handed. Jon loved reading. He loved technology, always wanting the next big thing even while unwrapping the last big thing. Jon loved to cook and grill. He became a certified BBQ judge and enjoyed deciding the fate of various smoked meats. He loved to tell jokes, and had the rare ability to make people laugh at the bad ones.
Jon is survived by his wife, Dr. Eileen Gallo, his children Valerie (Carlos) Olvera; Donald (Debbie) Gallo; and Kevin (Chandra) Gallo, and his grandchildren Emily Gallo, Joshua Gallo, Carlos Jon Olvera and Hayley Gallo.
Donations may be sent to The Fulfillment Fund, 6100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 600, Los Angeles, California 90048 (www.fulfillment.org). The Fulfillment Fund’s mission is to make college a reality for students growing up in educationally and economically underresourced communities.