Donald E. Callaghan

May 15, 2017
Donald E. Callaghan

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Donald E. Callaghan, age 89, died peacefully with his two daughters at his side on May 15, 2017 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on November 10, 1927, the third child of Eugene F. Callaghan and Kathryn A. Barrett.  Don grew up in a small New England mill town where his father worked for the post office and was active in the VFW. A lifetime of service to his family, his church, his community and his country began as a young boy when he rode his bicycle to deliver “supper” to his Aunts who worked in the town’s textile mill. Don was President of the senior class at Lawrence High School, ran track and worked in a metal component manufacturing plant before graduating in 1945. After graduation, he headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he studied for eight months before being drafted into the Army at the end of WWII. While stationed at Ft. Benning in Georgia, after the war, Don’s brother convinced him to apply for a program created to educate soldiers finishing their military service. What began as a year of Army service as a Private First Class led to a 24-year career in the Medical Service Corps of the United States Air Force.  Don earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University in Physics, and a Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. His career took him around the world. Don met his wife Maureen Lennon, an Air Force nurse, while they were both stationed in San Antonio, TX. They married in 1953 and began their almost 57 years of marriage.  The family, including daughters Maureen and Kittie, was stationed in six states and two foreign countries. Don and Maureen made many good friends throughout their service and always provided a warm home to all who visited. Don retired from the Air Force in 1970 as a Lt Colonel, and the family moved to Fort Washington, MD outside of Washington, DC, where he became the administrator at Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Anacostia. After leaving Greater Southeast, he was a consultant for numerous Washington D.C. Metro area hospitals and universities including Howard University, George Washington University, City Hospital, Arlington Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Don later joined his sister Marion in a busy professional practice of assisting medical offices with computer systems, billing forms and record systems. In 1985, Don and Maureen embarked on their final business venture, opening King’s Collection, a Hallmark Cards and Gift shop in Falls Church, VA. They ran the successful business for 10 years before selling it and moving to Cedar Glen Lakes, a retirement community in Whiting, NJ. Throughout his military and civilian careers, Don was an active volunteer in every community in which they lived. Over the years, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society, Young Democrats, Rotary International, served on the Board of the United Way of the National Capital Region, church choirs, and homeowners associations. In their retirement, Don and Maureen joined a vibrant community.  Don served as president of the Fishing Club, the American Irish Club, the American Legion, the Board of Directors of Cedar Glen Lakes and many other organizations. Don and Maureen traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States to visit daughters Maureen and Kittie and their five grandchildren. Don moved to Windsor Meade in Williamsburg, VA following Maureen’s death and enjoyed being close to his two Virginia daughters. Don was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Maureen Lennon Callaghan on May 7, 2010, as well as his brothers Eugene F. Callaghan II and John W. Callaghan. Don is survived by his sister Marion E. Callaghan of Silver Spring, MD, his daughter Maureen Sadler and her husband Gary of Williamsburg, VA and his daughter Kittie Abell and her husband Rob of Front Royal, VA. Five grandchildren: Joseph Sadler and his wife Shannon of Victoria, TX, Michael Sadler and his wife Erica of Little Rock, AR, Kathleen Abell Edwards and her husband Brandon of Charlottesville, VA, Mary Sadler of Chattanooga, TN and Thomas Abell of Front Royal, VA. Two great-grandsons: Wyatt and Miles Sadler of Little Rock, AR. Dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins. Memorial contributions may be made to The Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, at or mailed to 200 N. Glebe Rd, Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22203-3755. A funeral Mass will be said on 16 October 2017 at 8:45a.m. in the Fort Meyer Chapel. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors, will immediately follow the Mass. Online condolences may be shared at

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