May 19, 2021
John Christopher O’Callahan, Ph.D. PE, 82, of Burlington, MA beloved husband of the late Kathaleen O’Callahan, passed away from complications related to leukemia on May 19, 2021.
Dr. O’Callahan was born in Cambridge, MA, November 28, 1938. He was a 1956 graduate of St. John’s High School. His parents, Humphrey O’Callahan and Mary Anne (Driscoll) O’Callahan emigrated from Cork and Timoleague, County Cork, Ireland.
Dr. O’Callahan and his family returned to Ireland through the years to visit family and reunite with cousins from across the globe.
Dr. O’Callahan, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at UMASS Lowell, earned undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science from Northeastern University, where he was an instructor from 1961-1969. In addition to teaching at Northeastern, he taught computer science at Tufts University before joining the faculty at UMASS Lowell in 1975. In the late 1970’s,
Dr. O’Callahan and G. Dudley Shepherd started The Modal Analysis and Controls Laboratory (now The Structural Dynamics and Acoustic Systems Laboratory/SDASL) at UMASS Lowell where they introduced early finite element and structural dynamic modeling tools and modal analysis techniques to address complicated structural dynamic problems.
Dr. O’Callahan developed numerous software packages for finite element analysis and modal analysis for use in structural analysis.
Dr. O’Callahan authored several papers that were presented at International Modal Analysis Conferences (IMAC) and was recognized in 2005 by IMAC as a leader in the modal analysis community for his contributions to research and dissemination of ideas in the field; he was respected both nationally and internationally for his significant contributions to the research community.
Dr. O’Callahan also served as the Director of the Computer Aided Engineering Center and Assistant to the Provost for Technology Development prior to retiring from UMASS Lowell in 2003.
As an educator,
Dr. O’Callahan was second to none. He taught with a passion that was invigorating and had the rare ability to take complicated engineering concepts and explain them in a detailed way to enlighten his students. His dedication to his students and colleagues allowed them to grow and contribute to the engineering profession.
Dr. O’Callahan’s expertise and research on structural analysis led him to working with NASA, where he contributed to the design of the space shuttle doors. He also worked with the Apollo program specifically on the effects of noise vibration on the structural integrity of spacecraft components. He was also a member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) “Go Team,”- a select group of specialists who investigate major transportation accidents. He also worked on safety issues with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Dr. O’Callahan served as a consultant to MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and with RPA Process Technologies, Nuclear Engineering International. Professor O’Callahan served as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserves.
Dr. O’Callahan and his late wife of 50 years, Kathaleen, met while in the Cambridge Caballeros, an award winning drum and bugle corps. The O’Callahans hosted their extended family and friends at their homes in Burlington and at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH. Dr. and Mrs. O’Callahan were avid travelers and pinpointed their journeys on a very dotted world map. Their favorite dots on the map were Kauai, Hawaii and Las Vegas, Nevada. In homage to his research and love of travel,
Dr. O’Callahan logged many hours on his flight simulator, honing his flying skills and safely completing complicated and daring landings. A man of faith and science, Dr. O’Callahan was a member of St. Barbara’s Catholic Church, Woburn.
Professor O’Callahan was the loving father of Maureen O’Callahan of Acton, Kathaleen Hatfield & her husband Mark of Salem, NH, Janet O’Callahan & her spouse Joanne Sullivan of Amesbury, Paula Stanton & her husband Tom of Billerica, Cheryl Alfano & her husband Joe of Methuen. Dr. O’Callahan was the brother of Margaret O’Callahan of Woburn, Josephine O’Callahan of Medford, Frances Grady of Winchester, the late Theresa Donovan and the late Eileen Ireton. Grandfather of Mark Jr. (Shelby), Meaghan (Jared) Whittemore and Ryan Hatfield, Dennis Pothier (Alex), Sheila Beach (Chris), Jack and Molly Stanton, Zachary and Jacob Alfano. Great grandfather of Mitchell, Conor and Owen Beach, Hemley and Halston Hatfield, and Riley Whittemore. Uncle to Patrick and Erin Whitney and many nieces and nephews stateside and in Ireland.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Dr. O’Callahan may be made to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side). Wake on Tue. May 25th from 4:30 - 7:30 at Sullivan Funeral Home in Burlington. Funeral mass on Wed. May 26 at 10:00 AM at St. Barbaras's Church, Woburn.