Cover photo for James Callinan's Obituary
James Callinan Profile Photo
1939 James 2019

James Callinan

July 5, 1939 — May 28, 2019

James Allen Callinan was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN, on July 5th, 1939 to Frances Elizabeth (Odendahl) Callinan and Harry Thomas Callinan. He died on May 28th in the 80th year of his life, peacefully surrounded by love and prayer with his wife, children, and a chaplain.

Jim was raised in Minnesota for his elementary and high school years attending private Catholic schools. He had several hobbies growing up in Minnesota, one being photography which his parents encouraged by building him a darkroom in the basement of their home, which led to Jim being the school photographer at De La Salle in Minneapolis during his high school years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Chemistry from Colorado State University. Upon graduation, he taught high school Biology, Chemistry, and Photography for one year in his home state of Minnesota. He then traveled by boat to Europe for a summer of adventure travel, which led eventually to West Cameroon, Africa, where he taught Science for two years at Sasse College. While in Africa, Jim traveled in his Volkswagen Bug to various parts of North Africa, documenting his journey with an abundance of video and photos along the way.

After returning home from Africa, Jim sold college textbooks for Macmillan Publishers in Minnesota. He had the opportunity to pursue his interest in aviation with the purchase of a Piper Cherokee four-seater plane along with his brother, Mike, and two friends. At that time he met and wooed the love of his life, Merrie Eileen Bloom, by flying to various places over the beauty of the lakes and rivers throughout Minnesota. After their wedding in the summer of 1969, Jim and Merrie built a new home on Lotus Lake in Chanhassen, MN, where they started their family, a son, Tom, and a daughter, Krista. Using his creative talents, Jim designed and built a stairway meandering down the wooded hillside to the house, and then finished off the lower lake level of the home, engineering and building the electrical and plumbing, and installing bathroom tile and a wood paneled ceiling (he beveled each board himself). He also designed and built a boat dock, all completed to his meticulous standards along the way.

Jim and his family eventually moved across the country to Mill Valley, where he worked for Urban Pacific Properties as property manager for Opera Plaza in San Francisco, building a new home in Strawberry where they would live for 33 years.  Jim used left over materials from the new home to build a playhouse in the back yard for the children, working with his son Tommy at his side. Growing up in the Minnesota culture of hunting and fishing, and being in a family of four boys, Jim learned to hunt wild game birds and fish for Minnesota Walleye Pike.  After moving to California, Jim spent many weekends fishing the ocean just outside the Golden Gate for Salmon and Cod. Nearing retirement, Jim developed an interest in trap and black powder shooting, spending many weekends at the Gun Club or rendezvous’ at various locations in northern California.  Jim was keen on restoring old gunstocks for friends.  He was also an excellent shot, earning top awards at several shooting events.

As an active member of the communities where he resided, Jim served on the Lotus Lake Study Committee in Chanhassen, MN; he was both President and Treasure of the Deer Hill Homeowners Association in Mill Valley, CA and served on parish councils at St. John’s Church in Excelsior, MN and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Mill Valley.

As he neared retirement, Jim, with his wife Merrie, traveled overseas to several continents and countries.  A highlight was a trip to Palau in Micronesia to visit their daughter, Krista, while she volunteered in the Peace Corps.

Three years ago Jim and Merrie moved to North Davis Meadows in Davis, CA to live closer to their children and two granddaughters, Iris and Eliza.

Jim will be remembered for being an avid reader with his love of nonfiction, his inquisitive nature and varied interests, his intelligence, his sense of adventure, his can do attitude, his story telling interlaced with humor, his interest in classical music, his frugality and resourceful nature, his ability to fix anything and his willingness to help others build, fix, or refurbish their projects.  When a neighbor or friend needed help they would often call Jim.  Jim loved tinkering in his garage and so enjoyed treasure hunting at flea markets and garage sales.  Jim had a sincere interest in the welfare of others, often inquiring, often helping.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Dan.  Jim is survived by his loving wife, Merrie (in their 50th wedding anniversary year); children, Tom and Krista (Jason); and granddaughters, Iris and Eliza, whom he adored.  Two brothers, Mike (Pam) and Tom (Marj), and many nieces and nephews also survive him.

Friends and family are invited to attend a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 29th, 10:00 a.m., at St. James Parish, 1275 B St., Davis, CA 95616, followed by a reception at the Callinan home.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Yolo Hospice in memory of Jim, 1909 Galileo Ct., Davis, CA 95616, where Jim (and Merrie) received excellent support the last six months of Jim’s life.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Callinan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

St James Catholic Church

1275 B Street, Davis, CA 95616

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