Obituary: Edward Joseph Calnan
Edward Joseph “Joe” Calnan of New York City, a former longtime resident of Montclair, died peacefully at home on Sunday, April 4, 2021. He was 87.
Mr. Calnan was born in 1933 in St. Catharines, Ontario, to Edward and Lydia (Upton) Calnan. Enduring the tragic loss of his father in the Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 108 bombing at age 16, he persevered and earned a public speaking award scholarship to follow in his father’s footsteps at the University of Toronto, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering and was offered a job with Esso in Aruba straight out of university.
In 1956 he married Barbara Jane Hutchison, and they began their adventure by moving to the Netherlands Antilles. While there they had their first three children and made many lifelong friends. He became an avid SCUBA diver when the sport was still very novel.
In 1961, Mr. Calnan was transferred to Exxon headquarters in New York City. The family settled in Nutley, had three more children, and made numerous wonderful and supportive friends, many of whom they met from their involvement in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Nutley.
In 1970, he and his family moved to ‘168’ in Montclair, where he lived for over 40 years before retiring to Manhattan. During these decades, he founded Firebird Petroleum Corp., which led to many business trips and adventures to lands far and wide. He often fondly recalled memories of his time living in London in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where he discovered his love of sailing, earning his Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Confidence from the Royal Yachting Association.
Mr. Calnan married Patricia “Pat” Turner in 2004. The couple shared many sailing voyages together in the Caribbean in the company of friends and family, and passed on their love of sailing to their grandchildren. In summers, they hosted “Grandad’s Sailing School” at their home on Wolfe Island, Ontario.
The couple also spent time in East Hampton, where they hosted countless friends and family. At the end of a day he often enjoyed quietly sitting outside or by fireside, drink in hand, savoring the moment.
Mr. Calnan loved to learn, and read voraciously. He instilled in his children and grandchildren the importance of working hard and education, a love of nature and the outdoors, and how to live by the golden rule.
He was devoted family man and the anchor of his family.
Mr. Calnan is survived by his wife of 16 years, Patricia Turner; his children, Michael, Anne, Elizabeth, Peggy, Lydia and Joseph; grandchildren, Kellie, Meghan, Vic, Danielle, Matthew, Douglas, Thomas, Joseph, David, Elena, Eddie, Eloi, Axton, Felix, Leo and Zera, and great-grandchildren, Julia, Annabel and Cecily.
He was predeceased by his first wife and mother of his six children, Barbara Jane (Hutchison) Calnan, and by his sister, Madeleine (Calnan) Greenlay.
A funeral Mass will be said at St. Cassian Roman Catholic Church, 187 Bellevue Ave., on Saturday, April 10, at 10 a.m. Due to limited seating as a result of COVID, the service may be attended virtually via livestream at stcassianchurchuppermontclair.org (click “Watch Now” under the “Quick Links” heading).
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the University of Toronto scholarship fund: https://engage.utoronto.ca/site/SPageServer?pagename=donate#/fund/1329.
Arrangements were by Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home.