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Patrick J. Callahan, 58, demolition contractor who tore down the Aud

Dec. 13, 1960 – Nov. 13, 2019

Of all the demolition projects Patrick J. Callahan handled, the one that attracted the most attention was the tearing down of Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium in 2009.

“We had more people watching in Buffalo than when we took down Yankee Stadium,” said his brother, Kevin, who worked on the project. “The Aud was more of an icon. The only thing I can compare it to was a church. People were so emotionally attached to the Aud. There were people watching all day long.”

Mr. Callahan, president of DEMCO Inc., one of nation’s leading demolition contractors, died unexpectedly Nov. 13. He was 58.

Born in Buffalo, he grew up in Derby and was a 1979 graduate of St. Francis High School, where he played varsity football.

Prior to establishing DEMCO (Dismantlement and Environmental Management Co.) with his sister, Gayle, in 1994, Mr. Callahan had served as vice president of several other demolition firms.

One of their first big jobs was the demolition in 1996 and 1997 of Cleveland Stadium, the lakeside home of the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Indians.

DEMCO went on to specialize in numerous high-profile projects, including the razing of Yankee Stadium in New York City and the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.

Mr. Callahan salvaged an 80-foot flagpole from the Orange Bowl and installed it near the beach at his Angola home.

DEMCO also did extensive demolition work on heavy industrial properties and nuclear sites, including accelerators, reactors, weapons plants and processing plants for uranium and plutonium.

The company carried out the first demolition in the U.S. of a facility contaminated by plutonium.

It also demolished the Plutonium Production Facility Building at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, considered “the most dangerous building in the free world.”

Mr. Callahan maintained a U.S. government top secret clearance for more than 10 years and was licensed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the handling and storage of explosives.

A member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Farnham, he was known for his huge July 4 parties on the beach at Angola.

He enjoyed cooking and fishing, especially for marlin and sailfish in South Florida.

In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of more than 35 years, the former Sandra Kaczkowski; his mother, Madonna; a son, Sean; two daughters, Shannon Rautenstrauch and Kelly Moser; three sisters, Bridget, Gayle and Brenda; and three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Saturday, Nov. 16, in Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna.

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