Edna McCallion of Pelham Manor, N.Y., and Cutchogue passed away peacefully at her home Dec. 22, 2014, surrounded by her family. She was 97 years of age.
Edna was born in Manhattan in 1917 to Robert and Elizabeth Johnson. She met her husband, Harry, while a student at Hunter College, where she was later inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame. Edna and Harry had four boys and they moved to Pelham Manor from Parkchester (the Bronx) when the youngest was just a few months old. She lived in Pelham for the next 64 years. Actively involved in the community, she was a longtime member of the Manor Club, and an organizer of many of the ecumenical gatherings that brought together the faithful of all creeds in Pelham.
Edna devoted her life to her family and her faith. For many years, she worked as the director for United Nations and Global Affairs for Church Women United, a national women’s ecumenical movement. She received the Pope John XXIII Award from the late Francis Cardinal Spellman for her pioneering efforts for women of faith, and was a trustee of the New York Theological Seminary. She also served as a member of the Holy See (Vatican) Mission to the U.N., and represented the Archdiocese of New York on peace missions to Northern Ireland, Israel, Iran, Lebanon and Egypt. She also participated in fact-finding peace missions to Cuba, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In 1989, Edna was a U.S. delegate to the World Assembly in Sydney, Australia, of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. She also served in Africa as a member of the UNICEF mission to Senegal and Kenya, and gathered firsthand accounts of the impact of apartheid on the people of South Africa, meeting with Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu while she was there.
In 1987, Pope John Paul II conferred on Edna the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award, the highest honor a Roman Catholic woman can receive for service to the church. She also received a similar award from the College of New Rochelle in 1983 for “her witness to the centrality of human dignity in the creation of peace.”
Edna sang professionally and had an exceptional soprano voice. She also had a flair for dancing and loved competing in ballroom dance events.
Edna spent her summers with her family and many friends at her beach house in Cutchogue. Her many years of travel around the globe on peace and ecumenical matters gave her great joy and plenty of wonderful stories to tell. An excellent conversationalist with a great sense of humor, Edna was always a delight to talk with. She loved to say her greatest accomplishment was putting people together and always wanted everyone to know that she had a wonderful life.
Edna is survived by her sons Kenneth (Susan) of Mamaroneck, N.Y., Donald (Penny) of Southborough, Mass., and Peter of New Rochelle, N.Y., as well as her eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her loving husband, Harry, and her eldest son, Douglas.
A celebration of Edna’s life will take place Friday, Jan. 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Pelham Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Jan. 10, at 10 a.m. at the chapel at the College of New Rochelle. Interment will take place Saturday, Jan. 10, at 3 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Cutchogue.
Memorial donations may be made to the Harry & Edna McCallion Scholarship Fund at Fordham University School of Law, Office of Development, 150 West 62nd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10023.
This is a paid notice.