Albert James CahalanEl Paso, TXAlbert James (AJ) Cahalan, 88, passed away in El Paso, TX, on Sunday, January 15, 2017. "It's been a wonderful trip" was how he described his life in one of his last statements. And so it was… Al was born on July 22, 1928 in Cedar Rapids. He graduated from St. Patrick's High School in 1946. Serving as a combat veteran in the
and receiving awards for his service was an honor to him, for which he never expected anything in return. He married his true love, Mary Frances Wheelan, on April 11, 1953. In 1955, the family moved to Des Moines where they raised their four children. Al worked for Western Electric/AT&T Technologies for 39 years and the City of Des Moines for 5 years. Although already busy working and raising 4 children, Al still found time to donate to others. He was actively involved with the Urbandale/Des Moines Little League, the Coalition for the Homeless, and the Sunday Meal Program at St. Ambrose Cathedral. In 1994, Al and Fran made Payson, AZ their new home. In character, the duo dedicated their time to helping others in Payson by volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Community Food Bank, Community Kids and the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (park guides). They also welcomed emergency placement of foster children in their home. He was extremely generous monetarily, as well, to multiple non-profit entities, most of which focused on children and the homeless. His service to our country and his reputation as a "bad ass" to some, failed to alter the true nature of his heart and soul. He was a loving, intelligent, caring, charismatic, humorous, compassionate person who shared so much with this world, and we are all the more blessed to have been a part of his life. Beyond those who have been in Al's life and assisted with his care, we would like to give special thanks to Dr. John Vandruff of Payson, AZ and Dr. Michael Velasquez of El Paso, TX…and to Grace Duenas, who he loved as a daughter and she right back to him. Survivors include his brother, John of Austin, TX; Sister Elizabeth Stourac of Florida; son, Bill (Sonya) of El Paso, TX; daughter, Maureen Cahalan of Payson, AZ; daughter-in-law, Theresa Cahalan of Westfield, MA; grandchildren: Shaun Cahalan, Sara Cahalan, Jamie Mendez, Andrew Cahalan, Zachary Chenoweth, Joshua Cahalan, Lisa Cahalan and James Cahalan; and 7 great-grandchildren.He was preceded in death by his wife Fran (April 2014); sons, John (July 2002) and David (March 2011), and his parents and siblings Patricia Risdal, Helen Strickland, Marlene Millsap.Memorial Mass is scheduled for 9:30am Friday, February 3, 2017 at St. Raphael's Catholic Church, 2301 Zanzibar, El Paso, TX (79925). Interment will be at 11:00am at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery, 5200 Fred Wilson Ave., El Paso, TX (79906). The family requests that memorial contributions be given to a charity or cause of the donor's choice.