Amherst Magazine

Michael C. Callahan ’78

Michael C. Callahan ’78 died May 8, 2011.
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MICHAEL C. CALLAHAN ’78

Shortly after Mother’s Day, I found a voice recording from a woman I hadn’t spoken to since 1979, Joyce Chestnut, sister-in-law of Mike Callahan. “This cannot be good,” I said, and then learned that our classmate, brother and dear friend had passed away over the weekend while at the family cabin in Rangely, Maine, struck down by an aneurism.

A few thoughts:

Mike and his wife, Joanie, began dating in high school and married soon after our graduation. They had four wonderful kids—Emily, Tara, Connor and Molly—and were rightfully so very proud of them.

I had the great fortune to visit them at their Boston suburb home just this past January; what an unbelievable family, and how constant and true were Joanie and Mike after all these years, traits that so clearly showed through in their children. Joanie and Mike: One without the other? One might as well imagine a hand without an arm.

Our communication and visits since graduation occurred in fits and starts as is so-too-often the case. Never mattered, for Mike’s values and personality were fixed early in life. An occasional email with the subject of “Mr. Shithead” signaled he was back with something on his mind.

No one was ever more decent, honest, courageous, moral, generous and, not the least, hilarious. I met him my first day at Amherst and, frankly, might not have survived without his steady but crazy Irish presence. This space is far too limited to explain all he—and Joanie and her parents—did for me over the years.

Extend forevermore your thoughts, hearts and prayers to Joanie and the kids. If you’re lucky, life’s a rich affair. Mine has been, but it’s suddenly much less so with Mike AWOL. What an amazing friend and person he was.

—Darrell W. Hunt ’78

 

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