John Lawrence O’Callaghan, Jr., a Marine Veteran and former Lt. Somerville Firefighter, passed away after an extended illness on August 3, 2023 at the age of 76. John was born to his parents John Sr. and Helen O’Callaghan in Cambridge and he grew up in Somerville. After graduating from Somerville high school, John enlisted in the Marines and through the ranks, became a Marksman and Corporal. He took an immense amount of proud in being a marine and defending our country. Upon returning from his service, John joined the Somerville fire department in 1969 where he served as a Lt Firefighter, and later was promoted to arson investigator in the late 1980’s. It was a great job for John, being able to work and serve the community that he grew up in.
John met his wife Gayle at a family wedding in October 1970. They were engaged 2 months later and married 6 months later on June 19th 1971. They were happily married for 52 years.
John was a proud man who always worked hard. He balanced two jobs on top of raising his daughter Julie with Gayle. He was Julie’s biggest cheerleader and supporter. When John got time away from the station, or his painting job, or teaching at the Fire Academy, they loved to get away for some time. The family made trips to Disneyworld. Later in life, Gayle and John traveled just the two of them. They bought a time share in Aruba where they went annually.
John’s favorite job in life was being a grandfather. He was so proud of all of his grandchildren, and he cherished every moment he got to spend with them. He loved being a sounding board for Julie and grandkids. John was wise with life experience, and used it to give great advice. Sometimes, the answers he gave were not the easiest to take in, but the advice always came from a place of love. He also loved caring for the family dog, Daisy. Daisy knew that John would take care of her, and she stayed close to him. It may have also been because she knew John was the one who would have cookies and snacks.
John was the beloved husband of Gayle O’Callaghan of Burlington. He was the loving father of Julie Paige of Burlington. He was the proud grandfather of Brooklyn Richardson, Monroe Paige and the late Chase and Kenley Richardson. He was the caring step grandfather to Allie and Lindsey Paige. He was a dear brother to Judy Neegaard of Maynard MA, and the late Richard and Marie. He was the Father in law of the late William Paige Jr.
Before passing, John asked for his services to be private. The family will respect his wishes at this time. A celebration of John’s life will occur sometime in October. Details to follow.
The family is incredibly grateful for the nurses and aides that supported John in his life. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Sawtelle Hospice house, 320 Haverhill St, Reading, MA 01867.