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In the wake of an Irish morning, Salt Lake resident Mary Margaret Gallo, 75, was laid to rest under the watchful eyes of her "boys" - a generation of men who patrol the beat.

The former proprietor of Gallo's Italian Restaurant was known by first name to the officers of the Salt Lake Police Department, Utah Highway Patrol, Air National Guard, and countless other local agencies.Her Rose Park eatery became a refuge for officers looking for a quick break. Although the woman cooked with an Italian bent, she was true Irish, say those who knew her well.

Gallo was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery near St. Patrick's Day.

"Christmas to her was on March 17," said Ruth Allen, the wife of a Salt Lake policeman and longtime friend of the woman. Allen handed out shamrock stickers to a group of friends and family who met Friday at the corner of 1000 N. 1440 West.

The Gallo family reopened the restaurant, closed in 1991, for a daylong tribute to the woman.

Craig Merrill, an officer with the Salt Lake Police Department, showed up out at "Mary's place" on Friday to lunch a final time at the eatery many officers called a home away from home. Open nearly two decades, Gallo's Italian Restaurant and the elderly woman who ran it are a legend in the hearts of local patrons. For many, they said the memories would last a lifetime.

"Nobody can ever replace her," Merrill said. "It was a fitting tribute to her to see the (procession) go three or four blocks."

Merrill said the first time he met Gallo, he had finished eating and parked across the street to watch the place. He saw a man round the corner waving what appeared to be a gun. He confronted the man, who by that time had entered the building and was talking to Mary.

"Her eyes flew open about this big (when I grabbed him)," Merrill said, gesturing with hands laden with the spoils of the afternoon luncheon. The suspicious-looking man was actually Mary's son and had a squirt gun. The confrontation laid the groundwork for a long relationship with the family.

"Since that time, she adopted me as her second son and I've been coming back ever since," Merrill said. Other officers heard him telling his story and wandered over to reminisce.

"It was like going home, but only closer," said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Jim Faraone. "It was a place to relax."

Several officers remembered a situation when a man finished eating a sandwich and then claimed he couldn't pay for the meal. When the officers moved to "cuff" him, Mary stopped them and said she would give the man the food.

"Mary came flying around the corner and said, `You leave him alone,' " one man remembered.

Faraone said the first time he met Gallo, he thought she and her daughter were burglars and questioned them.

"They handed me a bag of fried shrimp. That was the beginning of a wonderful relation-ship."

Allen said such instances were common with Mary Gallo.

"The thing about all this . . . she adopted all the police that went out there," she said. `She always took care of them. If you went in there and were hungry and you didn't have any money, she fed you."