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Stamford Parade Grand Marshal Strikes Gold In Graphic Design Career

Bob Callahan of Stamford will be the Grand Marshal for the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
Bob Callahan worked with a design team on the original packaging for Goldfish, a product made by Pepperidge Farms. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
Bob Callahan worked on a team for the original packaging for Goldfish. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
A sketch by Bob Callahan of Stamford. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
Bob Callahan of Stamford is also a frequent painter in watercolors. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
Bob Callahan of Stamford sketches his work and then paints them with watercolors. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan
Bob Callahan sketched and painted this winter scene. Photo Credit: Contributed by Bob Callahan

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford’s Bob Callahan tackled projects big and small during his 50-plus-year career as a graphic artist. One of his largest clients asked him to create the packaging for the tiniest of products, and it endures decades later.

“I’ve always loved what I’ve done,’’ said Callahan, who was named last month as the grand marshal for next month’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Stamford. “I still love to solve problems. Now I just have more experience. I always think back to when I got a call from Pepperidge Farm, and they had a product called Goldfish that was going to be sold in supermarkets. I had no idea what I was going to do.”

  • Who : Bob Callahan, Stamford
  • What : Graphic artist, water color painter
  • Did you know? Callahan will be the Grand Marshal for the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Stamford on March 4
  • Learn more:

Callahan created the package, along with several team members, with all of the fish headed in one direction, except one. “That one was streaming upstream,’’ Callahan said. “They were introducing a new product. I sunk my teeth into that project. I still have the original package in my studio. It was only 37 cents at the time. It was symbolic because I had him bucking a trend. That’s what Pepperidge Farm was doing in the marketplace.”

That’s one example of Callahan’s creative genius. He has designed packages, websites, logos, advertising campaigns and more for a wide assortment of clients. It’s the only career he ever had, and he loved every minute of it.

Callahan was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from Eastchester High School. He served in the U.S. Army in Korea as a high-speed radio operator for the 24th Infantry Division and returned home to attend college on the GI Bill.

“I walked into the School of Visual Arts and when I saw graphic design, I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do,’’ Callahan said. “You were solving problems every day. I always loved that about this career.”

Callahan is still active graphic arts career, solving problems for corporate clients with his work. He also finds daily artistic inspiration and expression in sketches. He draws something nearly every day and also paints in watercolors.

“I sketch what I feel,’’ Callahan said. “I’ll sketch whatever is in front of me. People, places, things. I try to stimulate that eye-hand coordination. To me, drawing is the mother of all art. If you draw it correctly, you can paint in any style. If the drawing is off, the painting is going to be off.”

For the past several years, Callahan has been the Artist-in-Residence at The Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I., and has donated his artwork to Stamford charities. In his early 80s, Callahan is still as talented and as busy as ever. “The word retirement,’’ he said, “is not in my vocabulary.”

Callahan and his wife, Lucile, have lived in Stamford since 1959 and raised their six children in town. He’s now the grandfather of eight with two great-grandchildren.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the Stamford Chamber of Commerce, the New England Lyric Operetta, the Stamford Symphony Orchestra and is currently a Board member of Curtain Call in Stamford. He has also performed in 14 Curtain Call productions.

Callahan says he’s humbled by his selection as the grand marshal for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Stamford.

“I am honored,’’ Callahan said. “I just want to be a good role model for young people. I’m an old geezer who loves what he’s doing. I’m looking forward to bringing smile to the kids’ faces. I have a strong sense of pride, and when I look at the other grand marshals that list is impressive. It’s a humbling experience to be included with them.”

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Stamford will be held on March 4 beginning at noon. Click here for parade information.

Click here to see some of Callahan’s water colors, and here to see Callahan’s design work.

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