Dr. Carolyn Southard Callahan PhD

Dr. Carolyn Callahan PhD

     Carolyn Southard Callahan, Ph.D., passed away peacefully with family members in attendance on May 28, 2019, in Webster, Texas. Dr. Callahan was in private practice starting in 1991 at several locations in Harris County, Texas, for over 26 years. Most recently she served as a Clinical Coordinator and as a member of the faculty at the Houston Galveston Institute (HGI). Prior to retirement in 2017, she was a licensed Professional Counselor and a Marriage & Family Therapist. Dr. Callahan was also an Approved Clinical Supervisor of Trainees for licensing by the Texas Board of Examiners for Professional Counselors and the Texas Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapy.

     Born in Noblesville, Indiana, on February 26, 1934, Dr. Callahan graduated from Noblesville High School in the Class of 1951. Following high school, Carolyn enrolled as a freshman at Western College for Women, in Oxford, Ohio, during the 1952 school year. 

     Dr. Callahan was married on February 14, 1954, to Mr. Ross M. Callahan, a high school classmate, also of Noblesville, Indiana, for 22 years. During the Korean War Era, Carolyn became a young Army wife living at Ft. Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, during Project Nike and the United States Nike air defense missile program was being developed and tested.

     Following the birth of their first three sons (Mike, Kerry and Sean) in Indiana and her husband’s graduation from Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, the then five-member Callahan family moved to North Palm Beach, Florida. At the time, the J-58 jet engines were being developed and tested by Pratt & Whitney for the Air Force’s SR-71 Mach-3 aircraft. The Callahans welcomed a fourth son, Brian, before moving to Huntsville, Alabama, in 1962, in the midst of the Civil Rights Era and rapidly developing United States manned space program at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). At the time, Marshall, as it has long been referred to, was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo Moon program.

     In the early 1960s until the mid 1970s, as a busy wife and mom raising four sons, Dr. Callahan became a freelance writer and radio program producer in Huntsville, Alabama and later in Houston, Texas. In Huntsville, she authored a regular newspaper column, ExLibris, for The Huntsville Times. During the same time, she produced and broadcast a regular radio program hosting interviews with notable local and national writers and authors in Huntsville, on the local public radio station. One of Carolyn’s most memorable journalistic experiences was her pursuit and interview in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with writer and author Miss Sara Mayfield, shortly after The Constant Circle: H.L. Mencken and His Friends, was published in 1968. Her written correspondence with Miss Mayfield is a recently discovered family treasure.

     In 1971, the Callahans moved to Clear Lake City in Houston, Texas, between Ellington Air Force Base and the Johnson Space Center (JSC), where her husband Ross, made important contributions to the primary manned space missions.  As a free-lance journalist, Dr. Callahan covered several manned space missions including Apollo 17 and the Skylab missions for the Women’s News Service and the National Public Radio affiliate in Houston. In 1973, Parents Magazine published Carolyn’s article about Houston’s new High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (now Kinder High School).

     Dr. Callahan continued her education and received her Bachelors degree in 1978 (graduated Cum Laude) and her Masters degree (1981) from the University of Houston at Clear Lake City. Dr. Callahan then went on to earn her doctorate in Marriage and Family Counseling from Texas Woman's University in 1991.

     During her 26 years in private practice as a licensed Counselor and Therapist, Dr. Callahan treated adult, youth, and child clients with developmental disabilities to help improve their daily living and decision-making skills. Over her career, Carolyn worked for several Houston-based mental health providers, including the Center for the Retarded, Inc.; the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County; the Texas Commission for the Blind; Family Interventions, Inc.; Spring Shadows Glen Psychiatric Hospital; Benesys, A Division of Group Plan Clinic, Inc.; The Center for Pain Management, San Jacinto Methodist Hospital; Baywood Hospital; and Hope Center Youth & Family Services.

     Dr. Callahan authored and presented numerous professional publications and was previously an Adjunct Faculty member at Our Lady of the Lake University Weekend College. Carolyn also served as an expert witness in several legal cases before the Harris County (Texas) Juvenile Courts and was a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

     At the Houston Galveston Institute (HGI), Dr. Callahan contributed to the development and the operation of the organization and the training of a generation of new Professional Licensed Counselors and Therapists. For several years, Carolyn supported and was involved in the development of Houston-based Vita Living. “Vita Living's mission is to provide lifelong services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote personal growth toward a safe, satisfying, and meaningful life in their community.”

     Dr. Callahan enjoyed owning her former residence in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston and the access it provided for employment, solitude, entertainment, social connection, health and wellness, and exposure to art and adult learning. She enjoyed writing, being with close personal and professional friends and traveling. Carolyn was a long-standing patron of thearts, including theHouston Ballet, the Houston Symphony, Theater Under the Stars,and the Houston Grand Opera. She enjoyed international trips to Germany and Austria and her travels throughout the United States, especially in Galveston, West Texas, Indiana, California, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., Portland, Seattle, and Hawaii, were very memorable. Carolyn had great joy and satisfaction watching the growth and development of her sons, her adult grandchildren and her two young great-grandsons. As her Alzheimer’s dementia progressed, she appreciated being able to return to Clear Lake City and to share accommodations with her son Brian and his beloved dog Millie.

     Dr. Callahan was predeceased by her father, Dr. Carl Benjamin Southard Sr., M.D., and her mother, Mrs. Clara Catherine (Meek) Southard, of Noblesville, Indiana; her brother, Mr. Carl Benjamin Southard Jr., of Lafayette, Indiana; her great aunt, Miss Virginia Alice Meek, of Greenwood, Indiana; former in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence W. Callahan (Mary), of Noblesville, Indiana; and her daughter-in-law, Ms. Barbara Costanzi, of Houston, Texas.

     Dr. Callahan is survived by her former husband, Mr. Ross M. Callahan of Noblesville, Indiana; her four sons, Mr. Michael R. Callahan, Major, USAF (Ret.) and his wife Paula, of Leland, North Carolina; Dr. Kerry B. Callahan, M.D., and wife Maggie Conley,of Portland, Oregon; Mr. Sean P. Callahan and wife Tracy, of Seattle, Washington; and Mr. Brian C. Callahan, of Clear Lake City, Houston, Texas.

     Dr. Callahan is also survived by her granddaughter, Mrs. Catherine (Callahan) Cavignac and husband, Mr. Jeffery Cavignac, of Charlottesville, Virginia; three grandsons, Mr. Seth Callahan and Mr. Peter Callahan of Portland, Oregon, and Mr. Keenan Callahan of Seattle, Washington; and two great-grandsons, Masters Jacob and Lucas Cavignac. Extended families of Mr. Blake Costanzi (Alan and Michelle), Mr. Greg Costanzi, and Mr. “JJ” Costanzi and wife Shannon (Tanner and Hanna) of Houston, Texas; and Ms. Amanda Costanzi (her son Ian), of San Antonio, Texas, also survive Dr. Callahan.

     In addition, Dr. Callahan is survived by her niece, Mrs. Laura (Southard) Patnaude and husband Wayne; grand-niece Elizabeth (Patnaude) Paxton, her husband Andrew, all of Lafayette, Indiana; her nephews, Mr. Scott Southard, of Indianapolis, Indiana and Mr. Stephen Southard, his wife Kelley, and nieces and nephews (Catie, Evelyn, Riley, and AndrewSouthard, respectively) of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

     Friends and family are invited to join in celebrating Dr. Callahan’s life at Carnes Funeral Home, located at 3100 Gulf Freeway,in Texas City, on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at 2pm CDT.Arrangements for Dr. Callahan’s burial in Indiana will be handled by Randall & Roberts Funeral Home (Noblesville). Dr. Callahan, will be buried in Washington Park Cemetery East in Indianapolis, Indiana, at a date to be determined. The family respectfully suggests donations may be made in Carolyn’s name, if desired, to the Houston Galveston Institute (HGI) or Vita Living, in Houston, Texas, or Faith Community Hospice, in Baytown, Texas.