Colonel (Ret. U.S. Army) Thomas A. Callagy, 92, passed away peacefully in Melbourne, Florida surrounded by his family on Aug. 17, 2012 after a short illness.
Tom was the son of John Joseph and Margaret (McAloon) Callagy, born January 2, 1920 in Methuen, MA. He attended Lawrence High School, graduating in 1938. There he was a three-sport athlete and the first of the Callagy brothers to star at Lawrence High. He continued his athletic prowess at the University of New Hampshire where he played four years of varsity baseball, graduating in 1943.
While attending UNH, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, receiving his officer’s commission upon graduation. He then attended and graduated from Officers Candidate School at Ft. Benning GA, and served in the US Army Infantry in WWII from 1943-1945. This began his distinguished 30-year career as a US Army infantry officer. He fought in the Korean War from 1952-53 including the battle of Pork Chop Hill, where he earned a Bronze Star with Valor for extraordinary action under withering enemy fire. From 1953-1960 Tom’s assignments included ROTC duty at Syracuse University, attending Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth KS, and serving as Commandant of the West Point Prep School at Ft. Belvoir VA, where he took the school from virtual obscurity to one of the elite institutions of the US Army — an achievement of which he was extremely proud. From 1960-63, he advised the Army of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, and then was assigned to Continental Army Command (CONARC), at Ft. Monroe VA. In 1965 he returned to ROTC duty at Arizona State University and then attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, where he learned the Thai language in preparation for a year-long assignment in the jungle along the Thai-Cambodian border as an advisor to the Thai Army during America’s War in Southeast Asia. In 1971 he returned to CONARC at Ft. Monroe and then in 1973 found his way home to New England, where he served as the US Army senior advisor to the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He retired from the military in 1974 with the distinguished rank of Colonel. During his 30 years of service Col. Callagy was awarded many decorations, highlighted by the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, several campaign medals for service in World War II and Korea and the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions in Korea.
After retirement from the Army, Tom and his family settled in North Andover, MA and later moved to Rye Beach, NH, all the while working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Tom fully retired in 1985 and settled in Melbourne, FL, where he became a member of Suntree Country Club. He was an accomplished golfer, playing actively up until a month before he became ill. He is one of the oldest Suntree members to record a hole-in-one — at the age of 85.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife Muriel (Waggaman) who died in 1999, his son Thomas A. Jr.(Linda) who passed away just last month, his sister Katherine, and his brothers John, William, Leonard, Eugene and Gerald. He is survived by his sisters Josephine Clifford of Rye Beach, NH and Anna Normandy of Lowell, MA, three daughters — Margaret Gurtcheff (John) of Sumter, SC, Catherine Barber (Gary) of Melbourne, FL, Elizabeth Harrington (Allan) of Bethesda, MD, and a son — Shaun Callagy (Debra) of North Andover, MA, along with thirteen grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. In addition to golf, he enjoyed duck carving and family gatherings.
Tom will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington VA, at a date yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care, 661 Eyster Blvd., Rockledge, FL 32955.
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