Barbara “Bobbie”Callahan, educator and champion for children and families, dies at 76
Barbara “Bobbie” Callahan of Fairfield, CT passed away on Dec. 11th after a long and hard-fought four year battle with endometrial cancer. Bobbie is survived by her partner and husband of over 30 years, Ed Hayes, along with her three children, two stepchildren, their spouses, and her nine grandchildren.
Born in 1945 in Ann Arbor, MI, Bobbie was raised in Darien, CT by Barbara and Guy Conrath. Perhaps because she was an only child, Bobbie pursued a life of service to families and children in her professional life and sought out every possible transformational experience with her beloved family and friends. From her love of horses and competitions as a child, to her travel to over 30 countries and time living abroad, Bobbie was a spark of contagious energy and a strong beacon of light to all with whom she interacted.
After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in visual art and art history, Bobbie began her career illustrating and publishing children’s books in New York City. In the late 60s, she had the opportunity to move to Taipei, Taiwan, kicking off a love affair with Asia, and with travel, that would last her lifetime. While living in Hong Kong, and unsatisfied with the educational options for her first child, Bobbie spearheaded the creation of a Montessori school called The Children’s House and worked as one of the primary administrators of the school, which remains operational to this day. After moving to Miami, FL with her now three children in tow, Bobbie trained to become a Montessori school teacher and subsequently worked for 13 years at three schools across Florida and Connecticut, focused on preschool and kindergarten school students. This work culminated at The Montessori School in Wilton, CT. While a teacher, Bobbie became fascinated with the deeper work needed to help children and families with their emotional needs, and she studied part-time to obtain licensed certification as a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist and a Masters in marriage and family therapy from Fairfield University. For the last 28 years, during the depths of her disease and up until the week before she passed, Bobbie saw and helped hundreds of clients work through their most challenging family issues. One of her final gifts was her consulting work to establish The Bovina Montessori School in upstate NY, this time in the service of her youngest grandson who now attends the school. Her love of children, her commitment to their education, and her support of families is, aside from her devotion to her own family, her most profound and lasting legacy.
In addition to her professional endeavors, Bobbie was passionate about spending time with her family and many friends and participating in the beloved island community of North Haven, ME where she summered for over 40 years. Her many pursuits included art, sailing, rug hooking, quilting, yoga, reading, travel, great food, and bringing together friends from diverse backgrounds for scintillating conversations.
We deeply appreciate all of the love and support shown to Bobbie and her family during the past many months. We are so grateful for her profound role in our lives, and we will miss her more than words can possibly express.
In honor of Bobbie, please consider donating to the Bovina Montessori School in Bovina, NY on their web page at https://donorbox.org/barbaracallahan.
We will love you forever Mom/Bobbie/GrandBobbie!