Denis Michael Callaghan, a devoted Husband, Father and Grandfather died peacefully on January 31, 2023. He was 81, just 8 days shy of 82.
Denis was born on February 8, 1941 to Bernice (Seck) Callaghan and Edward J. Callaghan in Turner, KS. He attended Turner, KS public schools, Donnelly College, briefly and proceeded to the University of Kansas obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1963.
Denis spoke fondly of his time in Turner. He helped his family, as a young boy, working in the family hardware store. During the summers, he often traveled to his grandparents farm in Gardner, KS to help out which lit his passion for owning farmland of his own one day.
Since 2005, Denis called Lawrence, KS, home, but he continued to have strong ties to the Kansas City, KS area. He was a longtime member of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, KS as well as St. John's in Lawrence, KS. His residence in Lawrence provided him easy access to many people and places he loved very much; his family in KCK, Topeka, and Manhattan, and his beloved farm in Jefferson County.
Denis married his wife, Donna Judy, on May 9, 1964. They were married for 58 years and had 6 children. Denis worked a long career with Kansas City Power and Light (KCPL) where he retired in 1999 as a construction planner. His employment with KCPL was interrupted for 1 year in 1968, when he was "called up" with the National Guard and the 169 support battalion. He and his family were stationed in Fort Carson, CO.
Through the many years of raising 6 children with Donna, he tried out many different ventures - with his brother opened and operated a small 10 lane bowling alley - Muncie Bowl. He chauffeured his family to many places around the United States: Canoe trips on the Current River with a multitude of friends, and camping trips in a variety of places - sometimes hosting his in-laws on those trips. Needless to say, Denis did not let grass grow under his feet. When he was not renovating and adding onto his own home to make room for his growing family, he pursued renovations of a small cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks. Denis had a dear group of friends and hunting buddies who would make their way out in the wee morning hours for many years. Up until recently, the ol' hunting group would continue to gather at his beloved farm to enjoy wild game.
Denis was excited for his retirement and what he might accomplish. He took his retirement years to visit all of his children and grandchildren around the United States. His family, of which he was so very proud, lit up his life. He valued family immensely and his smile could not get much bigger when we would walk in his door to say "hello". Denis enjoyed KS, but moved out of his comfort zone to take a few international trips. He traveled to Ireland to visit his "roots" of which he was so proud. In addition, he traveled to Rome and the Netherlands (where he visited his son and daughter-in-law) while also escorting his wife, mother and mother-in-law during that trip. Denis was inspired and thrilled to dig into his ancestry, understand his Irish and German roots and share this history with anyone who would lend an ear.
We would be remiss if we failed mention the University of Kansas Jayhawks. His affinity for watching the basketball games ran deep. He passed away the day of the most recent Sunflower Showdown, and the Jayhawks pulled off a win, for which he would have been so very pleased. He always loved to have someone watch the games with him, even if this meant recording it so he could watch it later with someone.
Denis was preceded in death by his Father, Edward J. Callaghan, Mother, Bernice Dhooghe (Seck Callaghan), and his son, Patrick Callaghan. He is survived by his wife, Donna Callaghan, and his children: Edward (Valerie Hedquist), Maria Good (Rodney), Marc (Tina), Nick (Jaime), Molly Sanderson (Matt), and his brother, Bernard (Patricia). He is also survived by 15 beloved grandchildren who were the apple of his eye and of whom he was very proud.
Much appreciation to Midland Hospice House of Topeka and the team of nurses that provided exceptional care to Denis and assisted with his peaceful passage. In lieu of flowers, Denis wanted donations to be made in his memory to the Nature Conservancy of Kansas, earmarked for the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, where his son Patrick served as a Park Ranger for a period of time. Services will be held At Christ the King Parish, KCK on February 17th. A private burial service will be held at the family farm in the Spring.
May you be free of suffering and have peace of mind knowing that through your devotion and preparation, you have laid the groundwork for us to follow in your footsteps and continue to provide for your family.