Donald  Callender

Donald W. Callender Jr.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
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Donald W. Callender, Jr., age 78, died on December 3, 2019 after a month’s illness. He was born in Baltimore to Mary (Done) and Donald W. Callender, Sr. who both died in 2006. His youngest brother, John, died in 2005. He is survived by his wife, Mary C. (Mimi) Boudart; sons, Sam and Joe Callender and his brother, Tim. He is also survived by Mimi’s siblings and spouses: Kate, Sally & Dave, Chris & Jen, Jim & Nicole as well as Tim’s son Mike, cousins, nieces, nephews and many close friends and most importantly Sparky.
Don was a graduate of Haverford High School and Temple University.
He enjoyed many careers during his life. He worked as an archeologist on a University of Pennsylvania expedition to study the Maya in Tikal, Guatemala for several seasons, and on a National Geographic underwater expedition in Turkey where he met his great friend, Sam Low, underwater at 200 feet. He used those Anthropology skills to help found the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a living history Museum in Ridley Creek State Park. He became interested in tourism next and worked at the Delaware County Visitors’ Council and then became the first Executive Director of the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. He always liked railroads both model and steam. He turned that interest into a career as the first Executive Director of the Wilmington and Western Railroad and established many traditions there such as Christmas lights and the Great Train Robberies. His next railroad project was helping found the tourist railroad known as the West Chester Railroad with his good friends, Joe Giacchino and Skip Small. During the WCRR years he was also the primary care giver for Sam and Joe allowing Mimi to devote her full energy to her law practice. One of Don’s favorite jobs was as a tour guide at Hagley Museum. He threw himself into becoming an expert on the DuPont Family as well as the development of the DuPont Company. He even received certification to operate the steam engine at Steam School. But Don’s favorite career was as a Magistrate/Justice of the Peace, his last job. He loved learning the Delaware Criminal Code, the Rules of Evidence and everything else necessary to be a fair and effective judge. He also loved working with the JP Courts’ staff, the other judges and meeting the public.
Don had many hobbies and interests. He could fix almost any small machine. He learned those skills from his father who sold automobile parts. Don took apart and rebuilt all the cars he drove in his youth including a Model T and VW. Bicycles were what he most enjoyed working on. He had over 100 bikes in the barn in his home on Centre Road that he restored and either sold or gave away. He liked to cruise the alleys in Ocean City to find bikes. For many years, he took a 10-15 mile bike ride on Rt. 52 each Sunday with Bill Cohen, Charlie Weymouth, John Pankowski and Pat Ritchie with libations afterwards at his home. He paired his love of historic weapons with his interest in history to become a Civil War Reenactor. He participated in the Centennial of the Battle of Gettysburg with his friends he made in high school. He had historic clothing that he wore as part of Governor Printz’ guard at Kalmar Nykel events as well as pirate clothing for pirate festivals in Marcus Hook and Wilmington. In recent years he belonged to the Sons of Union Veterans who marched in the Wilmington Memorial Day Parade and also honored the Civil War soldiers buried in Wilmington Cemeteries. Don loved to hunt deer and turkeys using black powder weapons with his good friend Zak Hossain. He didn’t care if they shot any animals because he just enjoyed sitting in the woods and enjoying nature. Don was very musical: he played the fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer and every kind of flute and fife. In fact he would often whip one out to play an appropriate tune at celebrations. Don was good at making new friends and keeping his old ones. He enjoyed sailing when he was younger and owned a wooden boat. He had a large circle of friends at the Talley Day Dog Park where he walked Sparky nearly every day and also at McLaren’s Pub. Don enjoyed giving parties. In fact, he gave himself two retirement parties from JP Court! He spent weeks preparing for his and Mimi’s July 4th picnics given in the 90s where the children enjoyed his tractor rides, fireworks and recitation of the Declaration of Independence by special guest Ben Franklin. Don cherished spending time at his home in Washington, NH where he enjoyed the company of his brother Tim, his cousins and childhood friends. He also enjoyed sitting on the deck watching all manner of water craft pass by in the lagoon and eating crustaceans caught by his brother in law Jim at Mimi’s family’s home in Ocean City, NJ. Don was very involved in the community serving as a soccer coach and later a referee for the YMCA. He mentored students at AI DuPont Middle School receiving recognition for his service.
A visitation will take place at Krienen-Griffith Funeral Home, 1400 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, DE 19805, on Sunday, December 8, from 4:00pm- 6:00pm. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, 10 Old Church Road, Wilmington, DE, on Monday, December 9, at 10:00am. Interment will take place immediately after mass at the adjoining church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions in Don’s name to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Mary Magdalen Church, 7 Sharpley Road, Wilmington DE 19803 since Don helped Mimi with the ministry to the needy through that organization.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, December 8th, 2019 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Krienen-Griffith Funeral Home
    1400 Kirkwood Hwy.
    WILMINGTON, DE 19805
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, December 9th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Monday, December 9th, 2019 10:00am
    St. Joseph On The Brandywine R. C. Church
    10 Barley Mill Rd.
    WILMINGTON, DE 19807
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery
    10 Barley Mill Rd.
    WILMINGTON, DE 19807
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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John, Justina, & Meimay, Christina Troitino, Tanya Dracolakis, and other have sent flowers to the family of Donald W. Callender Jr.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 05:45pm
Celebrating the beautiful life of Donald. My heart goes out to your family. Love, Joan and Jason Williams
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John, Justina, & Meimay

Posted at 06:37am
Our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss... Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
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John, Justina, & Meimay purchased flowers for the family of Donald Callender. Send Flowers


Christina Troitino, Tanya Dracolakis

Posted at 04:44pm
As friends of Sam, we want to share our thoughts and sympathy for Donald. You are in our thoughts.
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Christina Troitino, Tanya Dracolakis purchased flowers for the family of Donald Callender. Send Flowers


Joseph Giacchino

Posted at 12:42pm
My condolences to all the family , I worked with Don for many years in the railroad business he had endless energy in all the right places always willing to go the extra mile to make things work. He will be greatly missed . Joe Giacchino


Posted at 11:14am
We are thinking of you during this difficult time.
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