Eugene J. Callahan, Sr. died on May 29, 2020 at the age of 88. Gene passed away peacefully at his home in Silvermine with his family at his side. The tenacious spirit he displayed all his life never flagged as he fought the vicissitudes of aging. Through his final days with us, he maintained the sharp mind and dry wit for which he was so well known in the courtroom and on the athletic field.
Gene’s wife, Patricia Deegan Callahan, originally from the Bronx, but living in Darien when they met, passed away in 2015, after a long and happy marriage of 57 years. After meeting at a West Norwalk social event in 1957 and an ensuing whirlwind courtship, Pat and Gene married January 25, 1958.
Gene is survived by his six children, their spouses, and grandchildren: Eugene, Jr., his wife Elen and their children, Eamon, Emma, and Adam of Brooklyn, NY; Maura and her husband, Pete Johnson, of Norwalk, CT; Sean and his wife, Yolanda and their children, Dalton, Ethan, and Aila of Kaneohe, HI; Tory and her children, Alec and Deegan of Newtown, CT; Tracy and her husband Eric Melendey and their children, Eddie and Chris of Wethersfield, CT; and Kelly and her husband Steven Bradley and their children, Ryan and Maya of Washington, D.C. Gene is also survived by his brother, Kevin, a renowned artist and a life-long resident of Norwalk, CT.
Gene, son of the late Jeremiah, a plumbing contractor, and the late Elizabeth (Connolly) Callahan, was born in Norwalk on April 20,1932. If there was one thing that occupied Gene’s passions as a child, it was sports. An accomplished athlete in his own right, he came from a family of athletes, with his late brother, Bob, an All-American linebacker at Boston College, his late brother, Jay, a standout three sport letter man in high school, and brother Kevin, a New England Olympic weightlifting champion. The eldest of the siblings, Gene’s late sister Betty Ann Carbone, helped her Mom ride herd on the four boys throughout their formative years.
Gene and his brothers were mainstays of the Norwalk area sports scene from the 1950s to the 1970s as players and coaches of the local football, baseball and softball leagues. As he reached middle age, tennis became a favorite pastime for Gene. On any given evening for many years, Jay and Gene could be seen exchanging volleys and nursing sore knees and elbows at the Norwalk HS tennis courts.
Gene graduated from Norwalk High School in 1950 as President of his class, while also leaving his mark in the classroom and on the athletic field. As a three sport letter man in high school, he quarterbacked the 1948 Green and White to an undefeated season and the Connecticut State football championship. He played three years of varsity baseball and basketball as well, starting at second base and point guard.
As a result of his stellar high school athletic and academic record, he was recruited on scholarship to play quarterback for Fordham University in the days when the Rams were still playing a nationally ranked schedule of opponents. Gene played two platoon football (quarterback and safety) for Fordham from 1951-1954.
Gene followed his undergraduate degree with a Jurisprudence Doctorate from Fordham in 1956. Upon completion of his J.D., he went into law practice with his late brother, Chief Justice Robert J. Callahan, and lifelong friend, Thomas Flaherty. In 1958, Gene married Pat and the next year they welcomed into the world their first of six children, Eugene, Jr.
In 1970, Gene transitioned from private practice to become a prosecutor in the Norwalk Court of Common Pleas. He next became an assistant state’s attorney in Bridgeport in 1975, heading the Career Criminal Prosecution Unit. By this time, Gene had earned a reputation as a fair and meticulous trial lawyer with uncompromising integrity. In 1981, his prosecutorial successes led to his selection as the first state’s attorney to occupy this position for the Norwalk-Stamford Judicial District. He remained in that role until his retirement in 2001.
In his later years, Gene loved his books and the daily papers, the New York Times crossword, Connecticut leaf cigars, the woodland creatures in his backyard, and most especially, time spent with his family. He hated to say goodbye, just as much as we grieve over his departure. There is solace in his reunion with his beloved Pat and departed siblings and friends. We hope that we made Gene as proud of us as we are of him.
May he now rest in peace in God's loving embrace.
The family wishes to express a collective sense of forever gratitude to Maura, Gene’s oldest daughter, and her husband, Pete, who provided a loving home and the best possible care from the time of Pat’s death in 2015, until the day of Gene’s passing on May 29th.
Due to COVID related restrictions on gatherings, the family is postponing memorial services. We will announce arrangements as soon as conditions allow for an appropriate ceremony to honor Gene’s life and memory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you send donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, www.pancan.org or to Norwalk Hospital Palliative Care https://www.norwalkhospital.org/support-norwalk-hospital/ways-to-give/palliative-care
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eugene Joseph Callahan, please visit our floral store.