Rita 'Claire' Callan obituary

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

Rita "Claire" Callan

Rita "Claire" Callan, a former Western Michigan University faculty member and department chair, died Sept. 18 in Kalamazoo. She was 87.

Callan joined the full-time faculty ranks in 1974 and retired in 1992 after nearly 18 years of service to WMU. Her husband, Dr. Edward T. Callan, emeritus in English, preceded her in death in 2011.

An associate professor emerita of occupational therapy, she served as chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy from 1985 to 1989. Prior to being appointed to that position, she had coordinated student fieldwork as well as taught in the department for six years.

Earlier in her WMU career, Callan had a 12-year affiliation with the University as a part-time instructor at different times in the Division of Continuing Education and College of General Studies as well as the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Claire Callan

In addition to her clinical work, Callan gave numerous scholarly presentations, especially in the area of fieldwork education, and was a member of several professional organizations. She also served stints as secretary of the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association and her department's representative to the American Occupational Therapy Association's Commission on Education.

Callan was active at WMU on a variety of college- and department-level committees as both a leader and member. Among other activities, she was involved with the College of Health and Human Service Research Screening Committee, the college's National Institute of Drug Abuse Interdisciplinary Educational Project and several occupational therapy department accreditation committees.

Before coming to WMU, she worked as a staff therapist with the Chicago Department of Welfare from 1953 to 1955 and what was then Chicago's Veterans Administration Research Hospital from 1955 to 1957.

Callan earned a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois in 1953, a master's degree in English from Loyola University in 1960 and a specialist degree in educational leadership from WMU in 1983.


Services have taken place.


The family obituary and message book are available at obits.mlive.com/obituaries/kalamazoo.

Memorial gifts may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or a charity of choice.