Memorial services announced for Fire Chief Callahan

August 23, 2010

Details of public memorial services for San Luis Obispo fire chief John Callahan were announced Monday morning.

A candlelight vigil will be held Thursday, Aug. 26 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Fire Station 1, 2160 Santa Barbara St. in San Luis Obispo.

There will be a public viewing earlier that day, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Reis Family Mortuary, 991 Nipomo St. in San Luis Obispo.

Memorial services will be held at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly on Friday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. There will be a public reception immediately afterwards at the Alex Madonna Expo Center, behind the Madonna Inn, lasting until 4 p.m.

Callahan, 61, had served as San Luis Obispo Fire Chief since 2005. He died of a massive coronary on Aug. 18 during a softball game at Santa Rosa Park.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Now I AM personally offended at a SLO City taxpayer:


“City Office Closures

The following City Office’s will be closed from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 27 in observance of Fire Chief Callahan’s Memorial Service:

919 Palm St.-Public Works, Planning, Building

990 Palm St.-Administration, City Attorney, City Clerk, & Human Resources

1341 Nipomo-Parks & Recreation

The Finance Cashier at 990 Palm St., Utilities Department at 879 Morro, and the Corporation Yard at 25 Prado Rd. will remain open during this time.”

I am sure that Chief Callahan was a good man, however….for the city of SLO to close so many departments on Friday is ridiculous. We are currently experiencing very lean times and whoever decided to give so many employees basically the day off is fiscally irresponsible, unless they are taking the day off without pay, or as a paid vacation day. Chief Callahan was with the city of SLO for 5 years and this is being treated as if the President of the United States died. The waste of resources and inconvenience for the citizens of the city is unbelieveable! Did our new city manager make this decision, or the mayor and city council? If the family had wanted so many working people to attend, they could have held the memorial on the weekend. By the way, who paid for the jet to Tahoe and back? May Chief Callahan rest in peace.

That’s such a HUGE point! ONE MORE DAY and it would have been Saturday. Big funerals are often held on Saturdays to give people some time to travel.

Yes, I’m sure SLO City would have come up with a litany of reasons the funeral could not be on Saturday — the PAC is booked, Madonna is booked, Station #1 is booked, etc. etc. etc. but it boils down to holding this event on the taxpayer’s nickle.

I am getting more and more irritated about this coming spectacle. Take a good look at where the city administrator, police chief, city council, BOS members, etc. etc. are seated so that they can be SEEN by everyone…

A big show with roads closed at the expense of the public. Lots of public employees taking time off to attend and to facilitate. Glad they don’t have any work to do, lay off some more of them. The Fire Chief was a nice guy, so was my father and mother. This is bullshit.

I’ll bet there is a bumper to bumper column of taxpayer-owned fire and law enforcement equipment that stretches at least from Monterey Street to the PAC. Any takers?

All City offices will be closed from 8 to 3, but this isn’t going to cost the taxpayers…LOL

How come plumbers can croak but not get 50 plumbing trucks going down Main st. Or even get a 21 pipe wrench salute? May John rest in peace and his family pass quickly through the worst part of their grief.

I understand that Mr. Callahan was a very nice man and a good member of our community. My condolenscences to his family during this difficult time. However, this man already retired from the City of LA after 32 years, was with the City for less than 5 years and was doing what he loved, playing baseball when he passed. He did not die in the line of duty, folks. Does this City provide this type of memorial for all its employees, I sure don’t recall and there’s been several that have worked 20-30 years for the City. You send a Sheriff’s airplane to pick up his wife in Lake Tahoe the night Mr. Callahn passed, all City police and fire will be a park of this Memorial friday and they have the guts to tell us it’s not costing us anything. Please! Now we know why you need that business tax money, fines for feeding the ducks or smoking, increase parking rates, higher water and sewer bills, and that great increase in our sales tax to pay for infrastructue. Let us not forget the “Stuff the Bus” because our kids don’t have supplies. Perhaps the Fire and Police Depts could have used this money for our schools in the name of Mr. Callahan. SHAME ON YOU ALL!

I hope there is no wasteful spectacle. I really do.

When they do happen, I’m most offended by four things. First, they are horrifically wasteful in terms of fuel, wear and tear, etc. Second, the mantra that it’s not costing taxpayers anything. That’s simply a lie and that offends me. Third, that such spectacles are not for the sake of the decedents or their loved ones but for the brass that like to put on a big show. And fourth, that good people like the departed chief would probably prefer people not make such a big deal.

One thing is for sure. Wouldn’t think of being in San Luis Obispo this Friday as many fireman, and police will be here to pay respects. As with all public officals that pass away, they all have over blown good by services. Be prepared for alot of diesel smoking fire trucks and police squad cars converging on the area.

I think it’s awesome when people turn-out to pay their last respects. Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy — it’s important to do it right. When people do it on the clock (even if they are exempt) while driving or riding in extremely expensive, taxpayer-funded resources it’s a whole different story — they shift the focus from the decedent to themselves. They anger some of the very people that pay their wages and pay for their apparatus.

These are tough economic times. We don’t need a gargantuan column of expensive to operate and maintain fire-fighting apparatus parading though SLO replete with stories of how “it’s not costing the taxpayers anything.” Please keep it dignified folks. Chief Callahan deserves it.

Chief Callahan is a good man and was an outstanding public servant. His sudden passing is a terrible loss to the community of San Luis Obispo and beyond.

I hope the dignity of this man is upheld by not having a parade of every piece of taxpayer-owned fire fighting apparatus that can be located and strung together. Such ostentatious displays (particularly in fiscally difficult times) are simply inappropriate and wasteful.

I suppose it might be different when public servants die in the line of duty, but that’s not the case with Chief Callahan. Perhaps two of SLO’s nest/best fire engines or ladder trucks — one fore and one aft of the hearse and accompanying vehicles would suffice?