Grace Callahan, 94, of Baldwin, NY, passed away January 24, 2021 peacefully at home surrounded by love.
She was born in October 1926 in the Bronx, NY, to Irish immigrant parents. She attended Mount Saint Ursula Academy and Fordham University. In 1950, she married the late John “Jack” Callahan, her husband of 47 years. They lived in Manhattan for nine years before moving to Baldwin, NY, where she became a beloved parishioner of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church for 62 years.
Grace is survived by children John Callahan (Rosemary), Michael Callahan (Irma), Regina Callahan, Therese Callahan James (Vincent); grandchildren John “JW”, Ana “Anita”, Brett, Sarah, Brendan, Flannery, Aiden, Rian, Teresa & Silvia; great-grandchildren Riley, Devyn, Susannah, Teagan, Samantha, Kira, Cal, Trustin, Isabel, Sofia, Sean, Alexa & Christian; dear friends from the Secular Franciscan Order and the 8 o’clock mass, and treasured “buddy,” Patricia Molinari. After they lost their own mothers, “Aunt Grace” was like a second mom to nieces & nephews Bob (Nancy), Brian (Marit), Kevin, Patrick (Vikki), Declan, Graceann (Bryan) and Janet. Grace was also a second mom to her ‘third son’ Bill, to whom she was “Mrs. C.” In addition to her husband John, she was predeceased by siblings Willie, Eileen, Betty, cousins who were like brothers Johnny and Billy O’Hara, nieces Barbara and Claire, and beloved lifelong friends Lillian and Fred Meyer.
She worked as a Metropolitan Life Insurance Company secretary in Manhattan, a Nassau County Board of Elections Clerk, and a Continuing Education sewing teacher, but her true work was with the many people she served through her faith. In her parish she was a compassionate bereavement minister, Outreach and hospice volunteer, and Eucharistic minister for the homebound. As a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, she was the fraternity secretary, newsletter reporter, and founder of the “Friends of Francis” letter-writing ministry to prisoners. She was among a small group of donors who helped bring a supply of fresh water to a village in Uganda. She not only touched the lives of those privileged to be part of her daily world, but those across the globe and behind prison walls. The reach of her love was wide.
Always hungry to learn, she was a skilled seamstress, quilter, knitter, birdwatcher, and a Master Gardener through the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Dahlias were her specialty. A member of the Dahlia Society, her dinner plate-sized blooms won awards. She loved walking, reading The New York Times and doing crossword, Sudoku and jigsaw puzzles. Her legendary Irish Soda Bread was rivaled by none. But her keenest skill of all was connecting people. The family historian and matriarch, she was the conduit for communication with relatives in Ireland. In her family, friendships, and volunteer work, she made everyone she touched feel better about themselves, leaving an enduring impact. Faithful and giving to all, she offered her time, knowledge, patience, and most of all, her everlasting love. She was forever positive, and among her strongly held beliefs was “it’s easier to forgive than to remain angry.” Even in her final days, Grace voiced her signature line, “You know, I’m learning something from all this!”
We encourage all who know and love Grace to join in honoring her. Please follow safe COVID Social Distancing procedures during this peak time of spread of the virus. Join us virtually or in person as your circumstances permit.
Thursday January 28: 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM at Cecere Family Funeral Home, 2283 Grand Ave, Baldwin, NY and Virtually. Service at 3 PM stream: https://youtu.be/kuz8yTignG0
Service at 7:30 PM stream: https://youtu.be/bi5ZFlFl0VI
Friday January 29: 10 AM Funeral Mass of the Resurrection; QMHR Church, 196 W. Centennial Ave, Roosevelt, NY; and Virtually Friday 10am stream: https://youtu.be/d8VUdLf3c64
Sunday January 31: 1-2:30 PM Virtual Only (Zoom) Memorial Service honoring Grace. All who know Grace are welcome to share stories, memories and feelings and join in prayer and song. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89228189273?pwd=TmUwK3JaTlhmL0U0bklpcEUwOFRSdz09
Meeting ID: 892 2818 9273
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bethany House, Roosevelt, NY (for homeless families) www.bhny.org or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital www.stjude.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Grace Callahan (Hickey), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.