My best friend's (Moira Callanan Little – we met as freshmen at Loyola Marymount University) uncle passed away last week. He was like a father to her after her father died and they were very, very close all her life, particularly the past few years when he relocated back to Jesuit High School where he was in the 1970s. Tonight is the rosary; tomorrow the funeral mass. I wanted to pay tribute to him as he was a dear friend to our family as well and so very important to Moira, her husband Mark and sons Jim and Joe.
I used to call him "Uncle Ed" since he was so entwined in my best friend's family and I felt he was sort of my uncle-by-proxy (at least I wished he was!). I met Fr. Ed in 1979 when I met my best friend in college. I will really miss him. Our local newspaper printed a fitting article in tribute to him which I have pasted below. The article was great but in no way could it truly repeat all the fun & fantastic things he did during his very full life. That man was a hoot (think fun-loving and funny Irish priest who could laugh as easily as he could cry) and everyone loved him!
Also, when my eldest son, Matt, returned from his Jesuit High School rugby team winning the national championship title at Dartmouth 3 years ago, Fr. Ed was there to congratulate the boys and Matt. He was really an awesome man and he will be really, really, really missed.
Cheers to you Fr. Ed! And in his own words that he would say to you every time he'd see you "God love ya." Same to you, Fr. Ed.
Obituary: Rev. Edward Callanan helped keep Jesuit High open
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The Rev. Edward E. Callanan, a former principal and champion fundraiser who has been credited with keeping the doors of Jesuit High School open during lean times, died Wednesday at age 81.
He died of kidney failure, said his niece Moira Little.
Rev. Callanan was principal at the school in the 1970s, when fiscal
troubles led Jesuit officials to consider closing. A dynamic,
gregarious man who was difficult to refuse, he reached out to the
community and raised thousands of dollars for operating expenses and
Today, the Catholic high school for boys is regarded as one of the top institutions for academics and athletics in the Sacramento region.
"We owe our existence to him," said the Rev. Gregory Bonfiglio, school president.
serving as principal from 1967 to 1974, the Rev. Callanan founded the
school's development office and was chief fundraiser until 1984. He
left to work as a parish priest and returned in 2003 as assistant to
the president for community relations.
of his title, he was a force of nature who won over donors and
prospective students with his personality and passion for Jesuit High School.
A stout man, he greeted visitors with a warm smile and shook hands with
the firm grip that led USC to recruit the former football player. He
charmed listeners with "a story for every occasion and usually a joke
to go with it," Bonfiglio said.
He was instrumental in the
success of the school's annual auction. He starred in the Spring Fling
musical variety show, one of Jesuit's top fundraising events for many
"This was a man who couldn't dance and couldn't sing – and
they always gave him the lead," Little said. "He was famous as Tevye in
'Fiddler on the Roof.' "
Edward Eugene Callanan was born in 1928 in Los Angeles. He was the fifth of seven children reared by Howard and Anna Callanan, a businessman and homemaker.
A star quarterback at Loyola High School,
he signed a letter of intent to play football at USC, where two of his
brothers were All-American players. Instead, he decided to enter a
Jesuit seminary in Los Gatos.
"He walked away and decided to become a priest," Little said. "He just had a calling."
He was ordained in 1958 and earned a master's degree in education administration from Fordham University in New York. He spent six years as a vice principal and principal at Brophy College Preparatory School in Phoenix before transferring to Jesuit High School.
He left Sacramento and education to serve as associate pastor and pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Phoenix and Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, until 2002.
The Rev. Callanan served on the board of the Sacramento Children's Receiving Home and belonged to the Rotary and Elks clubs. He was a founder and charter president of the Sacramento chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
"He knew everybody," said Bill Porter, a Sacramento businessman and Republican fundraiser. "I don't know anybody who didn't like him. He was a winner."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Father Edward Callanan, S.J., Scholarship Fund at Jesuit High School, P.O. Box 254647, Sacramento, CA 95865.