Joan Irene Callaghan, 79, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 surrounded by her family after a courageous fight with cancer. Born in Chestertown, MD and raised in New Castle, DE, Joan is a graduate of St. Peter’s Catholic school. Joan began her teaching career at St. Mary Magdalen, followed by St. Patrick. She put her career on hold to marry the love of her life, Gene Callaghan. While raising six active children, she reentered the classroom in 1975 and pursued a master’s degree in education from Wilmington University. During a 40-year career, she committed herself to the Catholic education of children at St. Peter New Castle, Our Lady of Fatima, Holy Spirit, and Mount Aviat Academy.

Family was the most important thing in Joan’s life. One of sixteen children, Joan was no stranger to big families, so it’s no surprise that she and her beloved Gene had six children and were blessed with 13 grandchildren who lovingly called her Grammy “Sammy.”

Joan was predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Gene; her oldest son, Gene Jr.; her parents, John and Irene Schauber; her in-laws, Eugene and Ellen Callaghan and two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Ann. She leaves to cherish her memory her daughter-in-law, Mary Ann, Sr. John Elizabeth OSFS, Lauri Witte, Kevin (Cindy), Sean (Marcie), John (Nancie) and her much-loved grandchildren: Lauren, Danny, Kelsey, Nikki, Shawn, Ellie, Taylor, Evan, John, Chris, Erin, Sean and Keelen. Her siblings Hank (Wally), Kathy, John, Susan, Sr. John Marie OSFS, Peggy (Mick), Charlie (Joann), Sue (Rich), Bernadette (Henry), Regina (Frank), Larry (Shelly), Michael, Jacinta (Mark), Frank (Vicki), sisters-in-law, Sr. Ellen OSF, and Joann, and 34 nieces and nephews.

Joan volunteered in numerous activities with her children. Once retired from teaching, she immersed herself in volunteerism, especially at St. Helena Church and FISH of Northern Delaware. Most recently, she was consecrated as a Daughter of St. Francis de Sales, a sign of her unending desire to fully live her faith.

Joan will be missed most for her spirit. One couldn’t meet Joan without immediately being drawn to her magical smile, pure heart and genuine love for all of God’s gifts.

A viewing will be held at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington on Friday, September 7th from 6:00- 8:00 pm (overflow parking available in the rear parking lot of the Brandywine YMCA, 3 Mt. Lebanon Rd.). A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, September 8th at 10:00 am at St. Helena’s Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE followed by interment at the Oblate Sisters’ Cemetery in Childs, MD.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Oblate Sisters, 399 Childs Road, Childs, MD 21916.