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Sean O'Callaghan


1935 - 2019
Sean O'Callaghan
November 30, 1935 - September 20, 2019
Resident of San Jose
Thomas "Sean" O'Callaghan passed away peacefully surrounded by family on September 20, 2019 in San Jose, CA. He was born on November 30, 1935 to Patrick "Harry" and Eva (Ryan) O'Callaghan in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Noted in an article written by Leigh Weimers in 1995 - "what Sean was best known for other than his charitable activities and easily recognizable head of carefully coiffed silver hair was his long career in Bay Area radio and television broadcasting - which was a far cry from his rural roots."
His experience spanned across the world of radio and television broadcasting. He started his radio career back in Redwood Falls and Mankato, Minnesota after studying speech and theater arts at the University of Minnesota for two years. A friend offered him a job in 1960 out in California at radio station KJAX in Santa Rosa in which he jumped on the opportunity saying "I was freezing my buns off in Minnesota". From there he did a short radio stint in Spokane, Washington and returned to the Bay Area which expanded his career at KYA in San Francisco, KLOK and KKSJ in San Jose. His experience spanned across being a music and news director, news reporter, and talk show host, including several local television shows, telethons and television commercial production.
His charitable work throughout his life was extensive, the most notable was hosting the Bay Area local segment of the Jerry Lewis (MDA) telethon for 24 years. Other fundraising events he participated in included the March of Dimes, Police Activities League, San Jose State University, The Spartan Foundation, The American Heart Association, Lions Club, The Valley Monte League, and many others.
He was also the in-stadium voice of the San Jose Earthquakes professional soccer team in the 1980s. Most knew him as the voice of the Western Appliance commercials with his fast-talking wit and catchy jingle that many remember to this day.
His charitable work also enabled him to travel around the globe as co-host of numerous celebrity cruises. Stating "I like to stay busy", you would find him participating in golf tournaments as well as playing tennis on the weekends. He was a man about town, always shaking hands and talking about advertising opportunities with many local restaurants and merchants.
A radio and broadcasting icon, Sean has influenced many of the on-air personalities on Bay Area radio stations today. The outpouring of support has been heartfelt and I'm sure he would be humbled.
He is survived by his older brother Dick O'Callaghan, son Chris O'Callaghan and his wife Kate, daughter Erin O'Callaghan of San Jose, and extended family.
Private celebration of life will be held in the next couple of weeks. In lieu of flowers, please donate to (mda.org).


View the online memorial for Sean O'Callaghan
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Oct. 1, 2019
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