The incomparable Dr. Philip S. Callahan peacefully and prayerfully passed from this world with his family at his side in hospice at Beehive Assisted Living in Edgewood, NM on the morning of Thursday, November 30, 2017. He was 94 years of age. The son of Eugene Crehan Callahan and Enid Ainsa Callahan, he was a true renaissance man: a person of deep faith, WWII veteran and officer, research scientist, published author of more than 100 scientific papers and 12 books, university professor, entomologist, ornithologist, biophysicist, inventor, photographer, artist, falconer, environmentalist, climber and long-distance backpacker, adventurer, member of the Explorers Club, poet, storyteller, philosopher, beloved husband of Winnie who passed in 2013, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. He was greatly loved and admired, not only by his family but by all who knew him. In spite of his many accomplishments, one of his favorite sayings was “Find God in little things.” He was a person who showed those around him that the little gifts of life are the best; he valued the beauty of nature and humble simplicity.
The son of an Army officer, he was born in Ft. Benning, Georgia on August 29, 1923 and lived in many locations as his father built a military career. He entered WWII in 1942 and was a radio communication specialist for the Army Air Force operating a top-secret radio range in Northern Ireland, near Belleek, that guided military aircraft safely in from the Atlantic. As a 20-year-old GI, he was responsible for keeping the radio range operational. This station, enabled RAF Coastal Command to maintain 24-hour vigilance over the Atlantic. He was stationed just over the border near the southern Ireland town of Ballyshannon, where he met his beautiful wife, Winnie McGee who became his wife of 64 years.
After WWII he worked briefly in Japan, building radio range installations, and then embarked on a round the world adventure and hiking trip. After this journey, he returned to New York where he married the love of his life, Winnie McGee, on August 27, 1949, and started a degree at Fordham University. Soon, however, his interest in agricultural science drew him away from New York City. During his post WWII round the world travels, he witnessed people suffering from starvation and wanted to find ways to increase world food production. He entered the University of Arkansas where he received his B.A. and M.S. degrees and then Kansas State University for his PhD. He joined the staff of the Entomology Department at Louisiana State University in March 1956 as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1959. He joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Southern Grain Insects Research Laboratory in Tifton, Georgia in July 1962 as Project Leader for Insect Biophysics. During this time, he was also Professor of Entomology on the Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia. In 1966, he received the Superior Service Award of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the Secretary of Agriculture. He also received the annual award for distinguished research from the University of Georgia, Chapter of Sigma Xi and also the Sears Roebuck Foundation Award for contributions to agriculture. In 1969, he transferred to the USDA Insect Attractants, Behavior and Basic Research Laboratory at Gainesville, Florida. His research explored the utilization of nonlinear far infrared radiation by biological systems and its applications to insect control and medicine. During this time, he also was a full professor on the graduate faculty at the University of Florida. After his retirement on June 20, 1986, he worked for a short time for the Olive W. Garvey Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning in Wichita, Kansas. He is survived by his children, Catherine Callahan Laughna, Margaret Ann Callahan, Kevin Lynn Callahan, and Colette Callahan Johnson; his grandchildren Ryan Michael Laughna, Brendan Frederick Laughna, Anya Gabrielle Callahan, Dylan Creighton Callahan, Kyle Timothy Johnson, Tyler Philip Johnson, Evan Peter Johnson; son-in law, Byron Johnson; daughter-in-law, Lynn Marshall Callahan; sister, Ann Callahan Harris; and numerous nieces and nephews.