D.O.B. 5 June 1960 Deceased 12 Dec 2013
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Born in St. Margaret's Hospital, Boston, MA
Father William E. Callahan, Sr., M.D.
Mother Victoria (Guite) Callahan
William E Callahan, Jr., M.D., a psychiatrist and well-known speaker on drug therapy, who was currently serving as a Regional Medical Officer in Psychiatry with the State Department in Ghana, died December 12, 2013. He was 53. At the time of his death, he was in Cape Town, South Africa, participating in the celebration of Nelson Mandela's life. Rescue workers report that he fell to his death while enjoying a late day hike on Porcupine Buttress in Table Mountain National Park.
As a psychiatrist, Bill was widely known for his commitment to psychotherapy and had extensive training in intense short-term dynamic psychotherapy, a technique he used to help his patients get in touch with their emotions throughout his career. He was a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and held various positions in both the California Psychiatric Society and the APA, including chairing the latter's Legislative Affairs and Public Affairs committees.
After graduating from Tufts University School of Medicine, Bill was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. As a Flight Surgeon assigned to a Special Operations Team, Bill completed tours of duty in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as multiple other missions abroad.
After being honorably discharged as a Captain, Bill made his home in Southern California, where he became a Board Certified Psychiatrist and entered private practice. In California, he was finally able to express himself openly as a proud member of the gay community. During this time, he became a devotee of the Arts, serving on several boards of directors, including the Laguna Beach Dance Festival - an organization he would love, serve, and celebrate with, for the rest of his life.
A little over a year ago, Bill made the decision to close his private psychiatric practice in Southern California, and to join the United States Department of State as a Regional Medical Officer in Psychiatry. Part of the Foreign Service, his first post was in Accra, Ghana, where he assumed responsibility for thirteen countries in West Africa. Bill could hardly have been happier as the career change allowed him to combine his commitment to helping others and supporting the United States, with his love of meeting new people and travel.
Bill's love of travel and adventure probably had its genesis in his early childhood. Bill's father, the senior William E. Callahan, M.D., was also in the Air Force, and during Bill's formative years home was various locations across the country including Portland, ME, Cape Cod, MA, Honolulu, HI and Fairborn, OH. Indeed, Bill's early interest in medicine may have stemmed from time spent working at his father's office in Greenfield, MA, where Bill Sr. established a private practice in OB-GYN after being honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force.
Bill attended public schools in the area, and ultimately graduated with honors from Deerfield Academy in 1978. He was an excellent saxophone player and swimmer, swimming first for Greenfield YMCA, then Deerfield Academy, and finally Tufts University, from which he graduated magna cum laude. While at Deerfield, he earned the John Phillips Sousa award for music.
Bill leaves behind his mother Victoria (Guite) Callahan; his brother, Robert and his wife Lisa and children Carly and Ryan; his sister, Heather; his brother, Patrick and his wife Carrie and twin daughters Finley and Riley; his father Bill, Sr., and his wife Gail and stepbrothers Ross, Casey and his wife Marlene, and Timothy Burns. And many, many friends and colleagues.
A memorial for Bill was held at the United States Embassy in Accra, Ghana on December 18.
A celebration of his Life will take place on January 11, 2014 in the Smith Kelleher Funeral Home, 87 Franklin Street, Greenfield, MA from 3 to 4:30 p.m., followed by a gathering of friends and family at the home of Bill and Gail Callahan, 81 Franklin Street.
A memorial for Bill will also be held in Laguna Beach, CA on January 26, 2014.
For those who wish to post or read remembrances of Bill, the following social media was established: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1377967199109194/.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Laguna Dance Festival (LDF) or the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), charitable organizations dear to Bill's heart. For LDF, checks may be made out and sent to Laguna Dance Festival, PO BOX 897, Laguna Beach, CA 92652, or donations may be made via their website at http://lagunadancefestival.org/contribute/. For NAMI, checks may be made out and sent to NAMI California, 1851 Heritage Lane, Suite 150, Sacramento, CA 95815 or donations may be made via their website at https://41339.thankyou4caring.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=298.
Published in The Recorder on Dec. 23, 2013