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A Wellness Journey tribute: Doug Callihan

by on July 21, 2015
Doug Callihan, shown in a 2013 photo holding an AEP hard hat signed by many supporters and well-wishers from across the AEP System.

AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees. All employees and retirees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is in tribute to Doug Callihan, who passed away in June after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Douglas C. Callihan, 47, principal construction contracts specialist in Construction Technology, passed away June 19, 2015, after a courageous four-year battle with cancer. A native of Cambridge, Ohio, he was employed by AEP for eight years.

Doug was a car enthusiast who loved working on and restoring his 1968 Chevrolet Corvette with the help of his friends and with his son, Matthew. He is survived by his wife, Karla, and his children, Matthew, Levi and Kaylie. He started running and lifting weights shortly after joining AEP and participating in several weight-loss challenges at his workplace.

In December 2013, he was featured in a Wellness Journey article that described his struggle with cancer that began October 12, 2011, and that included surgeries, a seizure while running, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In the article, Doug expressed appreciation to the leadership in the AEP Projects, Controls & Construction organization “who made it possible for me to improve my quality of life even after a major illness.”

“Some people say that they are dying of cancer, but not Doug. Instead, he chose to live with cancer and embrace life. He continued to work full time, rebuilt two Corvettes, ran 10-plus miles a week and cherished time with his family,” said Chris Beam, vice president – Projects, Controls & Construction.

Doug Callihan at the wheel of his restored 1968 Chevrolet Corvette.

“Doug was driven at everything he did,” said Tom Householder, managing director – Labor Relations. “His work ethic and commitment were at the highest level. When Doug was told he had cancer, he attacked it rather than letting the cancer attack him. He continued to work during his treatments and he also worked out throughout his treatments. He inspired others with his courage and his perseverance. He’s no doubt the toughest person I’ve ever known. His family thanks all who provided Doug encouragement and support during his battle with cancer.”

“We often find ourselves complaining about having a rough day, but our rough days are nothing compared to Doug’s,” said Brian Myers, Construction Technology manager. “Every day was a struggle — dealing with doctors, taking medication that he knew was going to make him sick — but he didn’t complain and he never gave up hope. Doug was and continues to be an inspiration to those of us who knew him.”

Tory High, the coordinator of the fitness center at 1 Riverside Plaza, where Doug was a regular, was proud to recognize Doug Callihan as the Fitness Center Member of the Month for July, “for his unwavering optimism, the fight in him that beamed from his eyes, and his encouragement of others, even as he faced some of his weariest days. We saw Doug reach new strength levels in the Fitness Center just two days after undergoing chemotherapy treatment,” he said. “He never lost his drive.”

Doug expressed his attitude as, “Be a fighter. Don’t give up. I determined that I came into this world kicking and screaming, and I would go out the same way.”

The Callihan family expressed their heartfelt thanks to those who sent flowers, cards, gifts of food and condolences to honor Doug’s memory, and to those who called, visited and attended calling hours and funeral services. “Your kindness and thoughtfulness shown during such a sorrowful time will not be forgotten,” a note from the family read.

Do you have a wellness journey you’d like to share? Your story can be about weight loss, overcoming an illness, maintaining good health habits or some other health-related topic. Just send an email to


From → Wellness

One Comment
  1. this is an awesome tribute

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