John Richard Callahan was born August 31, 1925 in Scott County Minnesota to John P. and Regina M. Callahan. John worked on the family farm growing up but always longed to join the Navy and serve with his brother, Bud. His colorblindness denied him the opportunity to serve in the Navy but at 17 he was accepted to the Sea Bees, a construction detachment of the Navy. John served two tours in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war ended, he separated from the Sea Bees and re-enlisted in the army.
John volunteered to come to Alaska in June 1948 and was stationed at Mile 26 Satellite Field which is now known as Eielson Air Force Base. He took to skiing, hiking, dog mushing and most outdoor activities. The rugged environment became his passion and John’s supervisors recognized this and asked him to help start and instruct an outdoor mountaineering school south of Ft. Greely near Black Rapids glacier. The school was originally named Arctic Indoctrination School which now has become the National Warfare Training Center (NWTC). As the war in Vietnam was escalating John was asked to serve. He left for South East Asia in May of 1959, after training in special forces and becoming a Green Beret. He spent the rest of his military career between Vietnam, Alaska, and Fort Bragg where he retired in 1971.
During his busy life he met his wife in Whitehorse on one of his many trips down the Alcan to visit family in Minnesota. John had eight children and they helped to build his beautiful home in Delta Junction, Alaska. In time John became a single parent and played many necessary roles. He thoroughly enjoyed his life and time in Alaska. He had a core of great friends and never knew an enemy. His personality was colorful and was so very loved.
John is survived by his children Reggie, Jim, Mike, Maria, Joseph, and Tricia Callahan, nine grandchildren, Arron, Cameron Ann, Anthony, Ben, Shane, Rebecca, Mike, Amanda and four great-grandchildren. John is also survived by his dear sister-in-law Carol Callahan. John was preceded in death by children Tommy and Alma Callahan. Recently another son, John, has passed. He is also preceded in death by his parents and five siblings Marie, Bud, Dolly, Pat, and Jimmy Pat.
There will be a graveside service at Rest Haven Cemetery Saturday June 6 at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. A causal gathering afterwards, will commence at John's favorite watering hole, the Clearwater Lodge.
Offerings and donations may be made to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church building fund, 2565 Deborah Street, P.O. Box 446, Delta Junction 99737.