Dr. Joseph “Joe” Callaghan

Monday, August 15, 2016 5:16 pm

Dr. Joseph “Joe” Callaghan, 83, of Decorah, died Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at his home. Mass of Christian Burial is at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Phillip Gibbs officiating. Organist is Mary Beth Bouska. Soloist is Michael Callaghan (“On Eagles Wings”). Cantor is Cindy Schissel. Hymns are “Here I am, Lord,” “One Bread, One Body” and “How Great Thou Art.” Lectors are Nicholas Hansen, Angela O’ Marcaigh. Prayers of the Faithful will be offered by Brid Callaghan. Offertory gift bearers are Oonagh Villagomez and Siobhan Hansen, Sofia and Joaquin Villagomez and Christopher Hansen. Rememberances will be offered by Dr. Ignatius Greene and Dr. Aengus O’Marcaigh. Interment is at St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery, Decorah. Arrangements are being handled by Schluter – Balik Funeral Home, Decorah.

Joseph Callaghan was born March 23, 1933, in Donegal, Ireland, son of Dr. Hugh and Peg Callaghan, a solo family physician in Dungloe, Ireland. He attended Blackrock College in Dublin and graduated from the National University of Ireland Medical School in 1958. Three days later, he started his internship in Chicago, followed by his surgical residency and later attending surgical staff at St. Joseph Hospital. Dr. Edward Hagen, Jr., a fellow hospital resident in Chicago, often spoke of his hometown, Decorah, and Dr. Callaghan and family moved there in 1965. He was the only surgeon in the Decorah area for 35 years, and his work included not only general surgery, but also (40 percent) orthopedic, gynecological and surgical obstetrics, etc. He was married to Ingrid Jensen March 19, 1987, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Waukon, by Monsignor Edward Lechtenberg. He was certified by the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons. He was also a longstanding member and past president of the Iowa Academy of Surgery. Dr. Callaghan published 10 papers in peer-reviewed U.S., British and Irish surgical journals. These papers were based upon his surgical experience gained in Decorah.

He is survived by his wife, Ingrid, Decorah; his three daughters: Oonagh (Enrique) Villagomez, Annapolis, Md.; Siobhan (Christopher) Hansen, Tuxedo Park, N.Y.; and Louise Callaghan, Ireland; four grandchildren: Sofia and Joaquin Villagomez and Nicholas and Christopher Hansen; Ingrid’s four children: Lisa (Terry) Winchel, Shawna (fiancé Ryan Meier) Todd, Dana (Craig) Helton, and Derek Todd; one brother, Michael (Brid), Killybegs, Ireland; one sister, Angela O Marcaigh, Dublin, Ireland; along with three nieces and five nephews.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Hugh and Peg Callaghan; one brother-in-law, Caoimhin O’ Marcaigh.

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