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Brian Tobey Callahan

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Brian Tobey Callahan

Brian Tobey Callahan, age 74, passed away suddenly on January 24, 2013 at his home on Denman Island, British Columbia. Although his passing came too soon, he was granted his wish to remain active to the end, cutting and splitting the yearly firewood supply, gardening and helping his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Northwest artist Kenneth Callahan and writer Margaret Bundy Callahan.

Tobey was born in Seattle, Washington, on January 25, 1938. As a child he spent much of his time in the forests and mountains of Western Washington; the natural world remained important to him all his life. As a young man he worked for the U.S. Forest Service out of Granite Falls, where his family had a cabin. This experience motivated him to earn a Bachelor's degree in Forestry from the University of Washington, and a Master's Degree from Yale University. He later returned to the University of Washington for a Bachelor of Science in biology and a teaching certificate. He worked for many years in the Seattle School District, as a teacher and counselor.

Tobey married his Garfield High School sweetheart, Mikell Sherman, in 1959. In 1976, they moved to a cattle ranch in the British Columbia interior. The couple loved ranch life, the surrounding wilderness and the people who lived there. Finally, fifteen years later they moved to Denman Island on the southern BC coast, where Tobey pursued his love of the outdoors by creating and maintaining a network of trails through their forested oceanfront property.

Politics and family history were two of Tobey's enduring passions. Though he eventually became a Canadian citizen, he maintained a lifelong interest in, and was always prepared to debate the fine points of, American political life. Tobey recently published "Margaret Callahan: Mother of Northwest Art," a book based on his mother's journals, newspaper articles and other writings. It was a true labor of love.

Tobey is survived by Mikell, son Sean (Teddi), daughter Claire (Keith) on Denman Island, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His generous and courageous spirit lives on in the hearts of the many people whose lives he touched. He was outspoken, caring, with a big laugh and a great presence. Arrangements are pending for a late Spring memorial service and celebration of his life.
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 24, 2013
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