June 17, 2021 By Christian Murray
A Sunnyside street will be co-named on Friday in honor of a long-time civic leader who passed away in September 2019.
The southwest corner of 40th Street and Greenpoint Avenue will be co-named Don McCallian Way, on the block where he lived. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m.
McCallian, who died at the age of 85, was best known in Sunnyside for his decades of volunteer work. He led many local civic groups over the course of his life.
“He was such a nice, decent man,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “For decades, no one worked harder than Don to make our neighborhood a great place to live and raise a family. Time marches on and we lose pillars of our community like Don but people like him who gave so much of themselves should never be forgotten.”
McCallian was a long-time member of Community Board 2; vice president of the NYPD 108 Precinct Community Council; and a past president of the United Forties Civic Association.
He was a member of numerous clubs such as the Sunnyside-Woodside Lions Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside Community Services.
McCallian, who grew up in Manhattan and worked in the shipping industry for most of his career, was also a longtime parishioner at St. Raphael’s Church. He was an active volunteer at the church food pantry.
“It’s sad to see him go,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan shortly after his death. “Every neighborhood needs a Don. He was old school. Hardworking and genuine.”
Denise Keehan-Smith, a lifelong Woodside resident who served on the community board with McCallian, also spoke highly of him.
“He truly cared for his community and was a fierce advocate for improvements that were in the best interests of our neighborhood,” Keehan-Smith said shortly after his passing.
“He was smart, kind, caring and thoughtful; a gentleman in every sense of the word,” she said.
McCallian’s wife of 60 years, Eileen, passed away in 2020. The pair did not have children.