Jay Thomas Callander was born on June 18, 1949 to Rodney E. and Fay L. (Mack) Callander. He lived his entire life on the edge. Jay was 3 years old when he had his first car accident backing his father’s car out of his grandfather’s driveway and T-boning a passing car. His name and the incident made it into the Newark Advocate the next day and wrecking cars became a regular event throughout his lifetime.
Jay attended many educational institutions: Newark High School, where he was naturally voted “Most Fun In A Group”, Greenbrier Military Academy in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, The Ohio State University and Denison University. Jay and Tom Shanaberg helped more than one teacher decide to retire early when they attended Wilson Jr. High School together.
Jay’s passion was always food. He was a self-taught chef and after his retirement from Callander Cleaners and Textiles Company he graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York (his retirement present to himself). Jay prepared food and hosted many large gatherings for family and friends over the years.
After high school Jay voluntarily enlisted in the Air National Guard, 101st Airborne; the same division his father had served in as a pilot during WWII and the Korean Conflict. He was activated the day he was released from training and served in Korea.
Civically, Jay was past president of the Granville Rotary and a Paul Harris fellow. Jay volunteered at the Salvation Army, cooking alongside Alexis Athen, his longtime family friend. His passion for animals was a constant. He was devoted to and cared for many dogs, cats, rats, snakes and his infamous potbellied pig, Handsome, who lived in Jay’s house for 16 years. Jay had a huge heart and always cared for the underdog, especially the homeless.
Jay possessed a comical yet twisted view of life. His love of cross-dressing was evident during his years of attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans and his many trick-or-treat nights on North Granger Street. He truly perfected the art of clowning. Jay cherished his time in Naples, Florida and always spent the holidays with good friends Ken and Nancy Koerner.
During younger years Jay was an avid and accomplished skier, handball player, rollerblader and bicyclist, often completing the annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley (200 + miles in one day) with good friends Bryce Morris and Jeffy Gaker (both deceased).
Jay loved food, women, the Opera, partying, Broadway Theater, Meatloaf (the singer), cars, the Arts, Stevie Winwood and all animals. He had many “Sweethearts” over the years, resulting in lasting friendships, but only one wife, Deborah Barber.
Jay battled addiction(s) his entire life. He truly cherished his many compadres in the AA community and found constant love and hope among them.
Jay had the ability to make anyone laugh and will be sorely missed by many. He is survived by his wife Deborah Barber, sisters Ann Callander and Amy Matesich (Jim), two nephews, two great nieces and one great nephew. One uncle, Dwight Groce and his family, and many, many cousins and friends survive. Deborah’s uncle and a weekly dinner companion, Vince Hitt, will miss Jay as well as Elisha (who was like a daughter to Jay) and Thomas Lamp and their two sons. Jay was blessed with the friendship of his wonderful neighbors on North Granger Street. His current canine companions, TuPac Shakur and Biggie-Smalls were by his side until his passing.
We know Jay would like for each of you to kindly give someone a second chance.
A celebration will be held from Noon-2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at 1922 On the Square, 10 N. Park Place, Newark, Ohio. A eulogy will be given at 1:00 P.M. All are welcome to attend. PLEASE, NO FLOWERS. He was an avid supporter of the Licking County Humane Society and the family requests any donations be made to this wonderful organization. Information can be found at LCHSPETS.org.
Licking County Humane Society
825 Thornwood Drive, Heath OH 43056