John “Jack” Callahan, 88, a research chemist, devoted father of five and grandfather of eleven, died at his home on Monday, April 15, 2019. Jack grew up in Chicago surrounded by a large extended family and was proud to be West Side Irish. He received a scholarship to Loyola University where he was awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan. Never boastful, he didn’t want people to call him “Dr. Callahan,” though he made an exception for grad school pals who nicknamed him “the kindly doctor.”
Jack worked as a research chemist, most recently at Elé Corp., before finally retiring at age 85. During the course of his long career, he was credited with multiple patents. He remained a science enthusiast until the day he died. Jack drove cars long past their useful lives so his five children could attend top universities. He believed it was impossible to spend too much on education.
Jack and his late wife, Rosemary, were parishioners at Mary, Seat of Wisdom in Park Ridge from the church’s earliest days. For years, they were greeters at early Sunday Mass. He and Rosemary were married for 51 years and did everything together – except attend museum exhibits. Jack’s love of learning compelled him to read every placard on display. His son-in-law dubbed him “every plaque Jack.” At the Field Museum, his youngest daughter once pretended to be lost so security guards would allow her back into the exhibit to extract her dad.
A deeply charitable man, Jack contributed to hundreds of organizations that supported orphans, missions, educational institutions, and others who needed a helping hand.
Jack is survived by his children, Tom (Jill), Joe (Susan), Mary Fran (John Pope), John (Christine) and Trish (Scott Kilman). He was a dear brother to Pat (Barbara) and Moe (Yvonne) Callahan and Mary Rita Joyce. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary, his dear brother Joe Callahan, sister-in-law Shirley Callahan, brother-in-law Jim Joyce and grandson Kevin Callahan. He was a beloved grandfather to Noah, Sam, Hannah, Claire, Sarah, Charlotte, Sharon, Helen, Benny and Jimmy and great-grandfather to Atleigh and Ameile.
Visitation will be on Monday, April 22nd from 4:00-9:00 p.m. at Ryan-Parke Funeral Home, 120 S. Northwest Hwy.,Park Ridge. Funeral Tuesday, 11 a.m. prayers from funeral home, to Mary, Seat of Wisdom Church, 920 Granville Ave.,Park Ridge. Mass 11:30 a.m. Interment All Saints Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Misericordia /Heart of Mercy, 6300 N. Ridge Ave., Chicago, IL 60660, www.misericordia.org