Timothy Callanan, 56, stained-glass artisan

Timothy Callanan, 56, of Fairless Hills, a fourth-generation stained-glass artisan, died of melanoma Sunday at home.

Mr. Callanan designed, installed, and restored windows for businesses, synagogues, and churches including Girard College, Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Center City, St. Helena Roman Catholic Church in Blue Bell, and Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe.

"The stained-glass artist is painting with light. It's the only art that light doesn't reflect: It has to pierce it," Mr. Callanan told an Inquirer reporter in 1987.

In the 1880s, his great-grand-uncle Martin Callanan, an Irish immigrant, installed stained-glass windows he had designed in the dome of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. Martin trained his nephew Timothy Callanan, who then trained his son, Thomas, Mr. Callanan's father.

Thomas Callanan worked for Willet Stained Glass Studios before starting his own firm in Philadelphia in 1958. He turned the business over to his son when he retired in 1989. Mr. Callanan operated the firm, Callanan Stained Glass in Northeast Philadelphia, until becoming ill last year.

Mr. Callanan grew up in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia and graduated from Lincoln High School. He attended Temple University before joining his father's firm. While working there, he earned a bachelor's degree in business from Holy Family University, where he met Teresa Devlin. They married in 1985.

Proud of his heritage, Mr. Callanan performed Irish dances with the Philadelphia Ceili Group, played Irish music on his tin whistle, and enjoyed singing Irish ballads.

He had a passion for fly-fishing, his wife said, and was past president of the Ernest Schwiebert Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Pennington, N.J. He enjoyed fly-tying and rod-building and fished in Yellowstone, Cape Cod, Canada, Ireland, and most recently Poland. He bred and trained Brittany dogs and during his illness drew strength from their company, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Callanan is survived by a son, Timothy; a daughter, Meghan; his parents, Thomas and Bridget Callanan; and two sisters.

Arrangements for a memorial service were pending.

Memorial donations may be made to Covenant House, 417 Callowhill St., Philadelphia 19123.

 


Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.