Robert M. Callahan, a Farmingdale lawyer who spent decades as village justice, died Tuesday. He was 92.
Callahan was a tail gunner during World War II. After the war, he returned to Farmingdale, earned a law degree from St. John’s University, then worked at a law firm that became Carman, Callahan & Ingham in 1986 — named for all partners — and the Farmingdale justice. Callahan also held leadership roles with the Farmingdale Youth Council, Farmingdale Library board of trustees and Holy Name Society at St. Kilian’s.
A Carman, Callahan & Ingham colleague said Callahan’s death is a blow to the Nassau County legal community.
“He was a soft-spoken intellectual,” said Gregory W. Carman, Jr. “He was one of those people that everybody liked and had tremendous respect for. We’re sad for the family’s loss. He’s going to be sorely missed.”
Callahan was born in Brooklyn in 1925, but spent most of his life in Farmingdale. The 1942 Farmingdale High graduate studied at Hofstra University briefly and then joined the Army Air Forces. He flew missions over Germany during the war and was briefly stationed on the Okinawa Islands of Japan.
Callahan’s oldest son, Robert T. Callahan, remembers his father as being scrupulously honest.
The son recalled how he got a parking ticket years ago in Farmingdale. Because his father was the local justice, Robert Callahan thought he would get leniency when it came time to pay the fine.
“So I come up and hand my dad a ticket,” Callahan said. “He takes a look at it and goes ‘OK. So, you’re going to pay it, right?’ ”
The younger Callahan was a little disappointed, but he gave his dad the $10.
“That’s the kind of guy he was — honest and ethical,” his son said.
Though Nassau’s legal community will remember Callahan for his years as a Farmingdale lawyer and justice, others will remember his service as library board president, joining the panel at age 28.
Callahan led the charge in 1970 when the library board hired a private investigator to find out why trustee Carl Gorton abruptly moved to Florida. Gorton, a conservative, had sold his Farmingdale home and moved south after butting heads with the liberal board members.
Callahan is survived by his wife, Cathleen; sons, Robert of Farmingdale and David of Brooklyn; daughters, Sheila Callahan of Manhattan, Siobhan Callahan-Bruns of Bremen, Germany, Mary Starke of Bellmore and Grace Callahan of Port Washington; and six grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his son Joseph.
The wake will be held Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Arthur F. White Funeral Home in Farmingdale. A funeral Mass will be said Monday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale.