Mary Elizabeth Callahan, obituary

Posted:  Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 8:00pm

CAMDEN — Mary Elizabeth Callahan, 96 1/2 years young, passed away on January 1 at Pen Bay Medical Center under the compassionate care of Doctor Patrick Mitchell, while supported by her family. 

Born in Springfield Massachusetts, on May 5 1921, the fifth of six children, she grew up exceedingly proud of her Irish heritage and was a lifelong devout practicing Catholic. 

One of six children born to Elizabeth Finn McMaster and Charles M. McMaster, she and all of her siblings (Charles, James, Donald, Kevin, Rita and Mary) were graduates of Springfield’s Cathedral High School. Mary was the sole remaining member of her immediate family, all of whom were members of the “greatest generation.”

Married to Charles C. Callahan on October 25, 1947 she was the mother of one daughter, Cynthia Marie (Callahan) Belair and grandmother of Elizabeth Maura Belair, of Camden, Maine. She and Charles (never Charlie) lived in the Springfield area throughout their working lives and enjoyed family time, Saturday afternoon tea dances, shopping and travel. 

After retirement, she and Charles moved from Springfield to Florida, spending quality time with her sister, Rita, and brother-in-law Ed, then after a decade in the sun, she and her husband returned to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to be closer to their daughter and her family. 

 After the death of her beloved husband, Charles, in 1998 she followed her family to Camden in order to remain close to her daughter and grandchild. Moving into Megunticook House she became friends with many of her neighbors and was an active participant in their group luncheons. Her cheerful cooperative demeanor was considered a group asset and she often was  seen cheering up others. 

She warmly and enthusiastically welcomed Daina Hill Belair into her family as a daughter-in-law after the death of her daughter in 2010. Her expression of approval  “oh that Daina” has become, and will remain, family lore.

She was the quintessential grandmother: loving, warm, non-judgmental, encouraging and supportive of every activity or effort Elizabeth undertook. Mary passed many of her values to Elizabeth: vitality, honesty, a positive life outlook, courtesy, thoughtfulness, and a sense of proper decorum. Anyone who knew her saw her as a “proper lady” always polite, well dressed, mannered and thoughtful of others. 

Mary achieved three remarkable life goals while in her 90s: participating in her granddaughter’s graduation from Camden Hills Regional High School at the age of 91; attending Elizabeth’s graduation from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania at the age of 95; and, welcoming a new daughter-in-law to her family last year. 

During the past several years, despite increasing frailty and suffering a broken hip, she remained active and maintained her independence; shopping, caring for her home, participating in significant family activities including BBQs, 4th of July fireworks, and always being there for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.         

Above all we will remember her vitality, her infectious enthusiasm for any mission she undertook, and her sense of humor. She will be missed.

She is survived by an extended family of nieces and nephews in the greater Springfield area as well as their families; her granddaughter, Elizabeth Maura Belair; daughter-in-law Daina Belair; son-in-law Jean Belair, all of Camden, Maine; cousins Margaret Martin and her wonderful family of Springfield, Massachusetts; and, her Irish cousin, Theresa Peacock and family of Coolock, Ireland.

A funeral Mass was said by Father Hyacinth at Camden’s Our Lady of Good Hope Church on Friday January 5, 2018 at 1 p.m.. A spring burial and memorial service will be held in Massachusetts at the Longmeadow Cemetery at a time and date to be selected by the family. Condolences may be shared with the family at  Funeral arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home, Camden, Maine.

 Memorial donations to the Camden Area District Nursing Association, P.O. Box 547, Camden, ME 04843.