In Memoriam : Robert Callahan

Robert J. Callahan - age: 82
(June 03, 1930 to January 01, 2013 )
Resident of Norwalk, Connecticut

Visitation Information:
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 7, 11 AM at St. Jerome Church 23 Half Mile Rd., Norwalk. The Callahan family will receive friends at the Magner Funeral Home on Sunday from 3-7 PM.

Chief Justice Robert J. Callahan died at 82 on New Year’s Day. His wife and children were at his bedside to comfort him as his long, valiant struggle against the maladies that weakened his body, but never his spirit or humor, ended. Robert is survived by his wife Dorothy (Trudel), his eight children, their spouses and grandchildren: Sheila, her husband Stephen Matthews and their children Kevin, Jay, Emily, and Brian of Marshfield, MA, Kerry and his wife Maura and their children Colan and Brigid of Farmington, Denise and her son Aedan of Norwalk; Janine LeBlanc and her sons Sean and Daniel of Marshfield, MA, Patrick, his wife Andrea and their children, Thomas, Clare and Liam of New Fairfield; Jane, her husband Skip Hagerty and their children, Nora, Sheila, Joey and Amy of Norwalk; Megan, her husband Kevin Kane, their sons, James and Emmett of Norwalk; and Robert, his wife Abigail, and their children Eliza, Sam and Sara of Milton, MA. Robert’s siblings, Betty Ann Carbone, Eugene and Kevin Callahan also survive him, and he grieved every day for his older brother, Jay.
“The Judge,” son of the late Jeremiah and Elizabeth Callahan, was born on June 3, 1930 and graduated from Norwalk High School in 1948 as President of his class. He excelled in football, basketball and baseball. His single season batting average record stood for nearly 50 years. He attended Boston College on a football scholarship, graduating in 1952. Bob was recruited by the Chicago Bears and played their exhibition season. Although other teams were interested in a trade, fate intervened, and he returned to Norwalk and attended Fordham University Law School. He graduated in 1955 and opened a legal practice above his father’s plumbing shop with his brother, Gene, and his life-long friend, Thomas A. Flaherty. Bob married Dorothy Trudel on January 24, 1959, beginning a partnership that would thrive and last for 53 years. As his family grew, Bob worked as a prosecutor and served on the Norwalk city council before being appointed to the Circuit Court bench in 1970. In 1976, he was, despite his youth, recognized as one of Connecticut’s top ten judges. He rose to the Superior Court, where he enhanced his reputation as a tough, but fair and understanding judge.
In 1985, Governor William O’Neill appointed Bob to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Again, he served with distinction, always following the law, never his own agenda. Governor John Rowland named Bob Chief Justice in 1996. As head of the state’s judiciary, Chief Justice Callahan worked tirelessly and treated colleagues, litigants, and everyone he encountered with great dignity and respect. He became a senior judge in late 1999 and, at age 76, returned to the Superior Court bench to try serious criminal cases. He also presided at Stamford Superior Court, where he became favored as an exceptional mediator who furnished poignant anecdotes and practical solutions.
Although called by many lofty appellations, Bob’s most cherished titles were “Dad” and “Grandpa.” He delighted in his family and his offsprings’ achievements. Even as his health limited him, he loved boisterous and hectic family gatherings, the hug of a grandchild or a quiet evening at home with Dorothy.
Bob leaves a lasting mark on his family, his beloved home town and Connecticut jurisprudence. His wise and articulate decisions will endure; yet, his greater legacies are the love of his large family and the admiration of all who knew him as a devoted husband, selfless father and grandfather and faithful friend.
Calling hours will be at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave., Norwalk on Sunday, January 6th from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Jerome’s Church on 23 Half Mile Rd. on Monday, January 7th at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to All Saints Catholic School, 139 West Rocks Road, Norwalk, CT, St. Jerome’s Church, 23 Half Mile Rd., Norwalk or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Nora Clynes - January 3, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
Dearest Callahan family, Tom and I are very saddened by the news that your beloved husband and father, has passed. Please except our sincere sympathies and prayers for you and your extended family. I'll always remember him as patient, kind and a person of integrity. May God grant him eternal light and may his soul rest in peace. Love, Nora, Tom and the Clynes Family

Mary Kopas - January 3, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
Sheila, Denise, Jane, Mrs. Callahan and all the Callahan Family, My deepest sympathy to all of you in the loss of your father, and husband. Your Dad/husband was the pillar of strength and a blessing to all who knew him. My he rest in peace and be free of all pain and suffering. Our prayers are with you all. Mary Plascyk Kopas and family

Jacquie DeMartini - January 5, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
To All the Callahan Family -- I was so sorry to hear the news about Judge Callahan. I'll be thinking of all of you during this difficult time. Peace and prayers to all -- Jacquie Rehnberg DeMartini San Mateo, CA

Michelle O'Connor - January 6, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
We are so sorry for your loss and so amazed by all of your Dad's accomplishments. In all that he did, what stands out the most as his legacy is his family. Our thoughts, prayers and admiration for him are with you through this time of sadness.

Paul Krasnavage - January 6, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
With deepest sympathy for your loss. Paul Krasnavage

Matt Konin - January 6, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
To All the Callahan Family We extend our deepest sympathy to the Family, and especially to Denise and her son Aedan. Barbara and Matt, neighbors on Locust St., Norwalk

Timothy Sullivan - January 7, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
Our condolences on your loss. My father and mother (John and Inge Sullivan) will miss him! Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Tim, Kellie, Isabel and Matthew Sullivan

Jon Eckman - January 7, 2013Contact this person Contact this person
Dear Dorothy and family, My deepest condolences, along with those of many coworkers of our past, to you all on your loss. May our thoughts bring you peace during this difficult time. Jon Eckman