Mary Frances (Leach) Callahan entered eternal life on May 15, 2021. She died in her home in Suffolk, VA, with her husband and family at her side.
Daughter of John George and Frances Mary (Kelly) Leach, she was born in Marcellus on May 11, 1930. Brave in nature and eager to learn, she graduated as salutatorian from Marcellus Central High School (MCHS) in 1948 and as an RN from St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, Syracuse, in 1949. She continued her studies at Syracuse University and worked as an OR nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital during this time. On July 3, 1954 she married Michael Leo Callahan, fellow graduate of MCHS and date to his senior dance, a mechanical engineer back from service in the Korean Conflict (Captain, USMC) and newly hired by General Electric. She dedicated the next three decades to raising her family and caring for her widowed mother, first in Marcellus and from July 1970 in Chesapeake, VA. She recognized each child as an individual, fostering her/his talents, interests and education, and, later, professional path.
In Chesapeake, Mary Fran found a spiritual home in the Catholic mission parish of the Church of the Resurrection, which embraced the teachings of Vatican II. She answered the call to serve through roles on parish boards and as board president and in volunteering at The Well, a diocesan retreat center. In midlife she answered the call to a spiritual life through celebration and study with The Gathering and with sister seekers, through formal Jungian studies at Old Dominion University and retreats offered by Jungian analysts and authors, and in dedicated personal practice and study. Her love of learning was lifelong. Beginning in the 1990s she and Mike traveled internationally and annually to Hilton Head and to the homes of their children to celebrate birthdays.
Mary Fran is survived by her husband of nearly 67 years; daughters Mary Anne Callahan, Mary Therese Callahan and husband Doug Strehlow, Mary Patricia Callahan and husband Bob Wislinski, and Mary Catherine Callahan and husband John Moore; son Daniel Joseph Callahan and wife Lora; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her father (1946), mother (1992), and son John Leo (2013).
The family expresses it deep gratitude to Comfort Keepers, Franklin, VA; to its remarkable caregivers Kimberly and Kristina; and to Heartland Hospice, Suffolk, VA.
A mass of the resurrection will be celebrated 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 1, at the Church of the Resurrection, 3501 Cedar Ln., Portsmouth, VA. A viewing will be held in the hour preceding the mass. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Doctors Without Borders. Condolences may be registered at BWFosterFuneralHome.com.