Sept. 30, 2019 By Shane O’Brien and Christian Murray
Donald McCallian, a Sunnyside civic leader and neighborhood champion, died Saturday night. He was 85.
McCallian, who is survived by his wife of 60 years Eileen, is best known in Sunnyside for his decades of civic work, where he worked and led many organizations over the course of his life.
“It’s sad to see him go,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan. “Every neighborhood needs a Don. He was old school. Hardworking and genuine.”
McCallian was a long-time member of Community Board 2; vice president of the NYPD 108 Precinct Community Council; and a past president of the United Forties Civic Association.
He was a member of numerous clubs such as the Sunnyside-Woodside Lions Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside Community Services.
“He was always willing to help anybody who needed help,” said Melissa Orlando, chairperson of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. “He contributed so much to the community and he participated in many, many civic organizations over the years. He touched so many lives and so much of what’s happened in our community.”
McCallian, who grew up in Manhattan and worked in the shipping industry for most of his career, was also a longtime parishioner at St. Raphael’s Church. He was an active volunteer at the church’s food pantry.
“He was a very generous person and the food pantry was always very important to him,” Nolan said.
“Sunnyside was very fortunate to have Don. We have had a lot of legends here from Lily Gavin, Gert McDonald to Luke Adams,” Nolan said. “What’s nice to see is that there are people like them that are coming forward. Sunnyside is great in that way.”
Community Board 2 Chair Denise Keehan-Smith also noted that his passing represents a loss to the community.
“He truly cared for his community and was a fierce advocate for improvements that were in the best interests of our neighborhood,” Keehan-Smith said. “He was smart, kind, caring and thoughtful; a gentleman in every sense of the word. We will miss him as a colleague, but also as our friend. We offer our condolences to his family.”
McCallian is not only survived by his wife Eileen, but his sister Veronica Hennessy and brother-in-law John Donovan. He also leaves behind multiple nieces and nephews.
The wake began yesterday and will continue today Monday, Sept. 30 from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Edward D. Lynch Funeral Home, Inc, 43-07 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside.
His funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 at St. Raphael’s, located at 35-20 Greenpoint Ave. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, in Valhalla, NY.