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Dorothy Callahan Dies After Long Illness

She was the wife of state Del. Vincent Callahan and active in the community

Dorothy Callahan, wife of state Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34th) and former president of the McLean Republican Women’s Club, died last week of pulmonary failure. She was 75.

She was born in North Dakota, and her parents moved Dorothy and her siblings to Arlington while her father worked as an engineer, designing and building the stone bridges on the George Washington Parkway among others in the area. She married Callahan in 1960, and they moved to McLean in 1963.

“She was very active in the community in McLean,” Vince Callahan said of his wife. “She raised five children. She was very active in the McLean Business and Professional Organization, which was the predecessor to the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce.”

Mrs. Callahan, “Dottie” to those who knew her, also ran a bookstore in McLean for several years and was an editor in her husband’s publishing company.

“Dot was a wonderfully warm individual, very outgoing,” said John Adams, a longtime family friend. “She was very supportive of Vince during his campaigns. They were active partners.”

Adams said the Callahan’s could often be seen in McLean at the Family Restaurant, where they ate about once a week.

“She struggled with her health in the last few years, but her death was a surprise. She’ll be missed,” he said.

“She was very, very friendly, very energetic,” said Dariel Van Wagoner, who, along with her husband, John, was a friend of the Callahans for over 30 years. “She had her bookstore in McLean, specializing in hardcover books. Her family was very important to her. … I’ll miss her voice, her personality and her optimism.”

“Whenever I’d think of Dottie, I’d think of Vince. They were always together,” said Dranesville District supervisor Joan DuBois. “The two of them were an institution as a couple. It’s a huge personal loss, and also a huge loss for the community. The whole family is in my thoughts.”

“She was a good companion and a good friend,” Vince Callahan said. “She always had a pleasant smile.”

Mrs. Callahan is survived by her husband; five children: Vincent F. Callahan III of Bowie, Md., Lauren Callahan of Norfolk, Anita Hyink of Falls Church, Bruce Callahan of Oakton and Cynthia Toohey of Boonton, N.J.; a sister, Mary Gaughan of McLean; a brother, Will Gaughan of Piedmont, Calif.; and 14 grandchildren. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.