Saturday, April 1, 2023
April 1, 2023

Robert Dan Callahan


June 26, 1928 – April 6, 2014

Dan was wired for a life of imagination and fire; a life fully lived was demanded by his DNA. He was intense and exploring in all parts of his life, and often joyful in new directions. He was Flaming Youth and sometimes abrasive individualist, but also he was life-time student, thoughtful observer, free spirit. He was strong and courageous, and even in the last few years of medical challenges, his strength and spirit were clear.

His hands could draw, express, repair, and soothe everything–he restored old motorcycles, cars, a wooden boat; he produced memorable photo projects through the years; his care of our cats was legendary; he worked with imagination and force on all that he wrote or did. He could always figure out how to solve electronic and mechanical problems; and could design anything from patios to lawnmower wheels to make them beautifully his own.

In the 1950s he was ship’s navigator and then deep-sea diver and underwater photographer in the US Navy. He left his Navy career to return to U of W and in 1967 began to teach English literature at SFU. In 1983, D.H. Lawrence’s Etruscans and also Moto Guzzis drew him to Italy, and we soon moved to an ancient Tuscan property that fulfilled dreams of both sociality and solitude. He was in his element, close to “paradiso” for his twenty-five years there.

He is survived by his wife Sharon on Salt Spring, with him for 50 years; his sister Beverley of Longview, WA; his children Patricia, Maureen, Sean, and Oona in Seattle and Matthew in Texas, also by their children. Those who can will come to celebrate Dan’s birthday and his life in late June.

An informal drop-by will be held on Sunday, May 4 at our home from 3-6 pm. Also condolences and stories may be added to the Book of Memories at Donation can be made to the Lady Minto Hosptial Foundation or the BC Cancer Foundation.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.

– Theodore Roethke

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Salt Spring Island
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