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10/7/11

Obituary for Lieutenant Colonel N. P. “Phil” Callas,USAF (Ret)



Lieutenant Colonel N. P. “Phil” Callas,USAF (Ret). passed away 16 September 2011, in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, after a four year battle with Parkinson’s disease.  He was 80 years old.
Born in El Centro, California, of immigrant Greek parents, he graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1950, as their Student Body President, Academic Honor Roll, All-City(Los Angeles) quarterback contender, High Hurdle/Low Hurdle record holder.
Upon obtaining a Second Alternate appointment from venerable California Congressman Chet Hollifield, he hitch-hiked to Washington D.C. where he succeeded in lobbying Congress for a Principal Appointment to the class of 1954. Upon graduation, his initial three year assignment placed him in the Special Weapons Project, Sandia Base, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He next attained a Master degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of Colorado.  Afterwords he was assigned to teach mathematics at the brand new USAF Academy for two years.  The next four years were spent acquiring a PHD and then he returned to the Air Force Academy to teach mathematics for four years.  
In 1969 he attended the Armed Forces Staff College and was thereafter assigned to the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for four years.  From 1973 until retirement he was assigned to the 2nd Command Squadron, 9th Air Defense Command, at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver.  
In his retirement years, he was President of Data Direction Ltd, a software development firm that designed and employed sophisticated oil and gas drilling programs used throughout the world.
His wife of 56 years, Claudia Anne (Ball) Callas survives him, as do three grown children,  Russell  Callas, Rebecca (“Lee” ) Callas, Christopher Callas, and granddaughter Zoe Callas.  Claudia is the daughter of Anne & Captain Claude Russell “Rusty” Ball, M.D., who headed the Medical Department at the Naval Academy from 1950 to 1953.
Phil was a member of the 18th Company, a great cross-country hitch-hiking companion, friend and roommate.  His sense of honesty, forthrightness and logical thinking should make us all proud to have called him a shipmate.
 Bob Rogers ’54

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you take too long to say thank-you, you never get to say it; thus, the reason for my comments here. Dr. Callas (even today it is not easy to address him as Phil) was my math professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

As I my retirement nears I can’t help but look back and think that I would have never had the fine career I did without his guidance and patience. I thought math would be my undoing at Mines, but instead it was a high point because Dr. Callas was always there to help. To this day I can’t believe how patient he was with me; how much time he spent with me meticulously explaining each problem.

Sometime later in my career Dr. Callas and I published separate articles in the same issue of a trade journal. I failed to send him my regards then also, but I hope that he recognized my name and felt some sense of accomplishment and reward for his hours of tutelage, which given my needs, must have been tedious for him.

Although this is a much-belated note, it is no less sincere, and my heart goes out to all who felt his loss and celebrate a life well-lived. God bless you...Phil

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