Michael (Mike, Mikey) James Callaghan died of renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) on April 23 at the age of 52, after a determined five-year fight.

Mike grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, moving to Toronto after law school in Halifax, and spent his life spreading kindness and good humour. He was interested in everything and charmed everyone who had the good fortune of knowing him.

Mike was an outspoken advocate for justice from an early age and was an engaged citizen of this country, including being bilingual and a strong champion for a united Canada that proudly included Québec.

Mike was always the mischievous sibling who brought so much joy and laughter to his whole family. We loved his outrageous Halloween costumes, his memorable and hilarious turns of phrase and his gorgeous twinkling blue eyes. Watching the beautiful human being he became filled his family with love and pride.

Mike’s love of life, generous spirit and unbreakable bonds of loyalty allowed him to nurture a wonderful network of friends, including the Sarnia Posse, his many work wives and friends around the world.

Throughout his 22 years working in the downtown Toronto Crown Attorney’s Office, Mike demonstrated tremendous compassion and empathy for both victims and accused persons. He had the wonderful quality of making everyone feel welcome and respected. Through his terrific sense of humour, strong work ethic and excellent judgment, he provided dedicated and empathetic leadership in every role he held.

Mike knew how to make people laugh when they needed it the most. He could disarm even the most challenging characters and fostered a remarkable sense of loyalty in the people with whom he worked, including so many Crown colleagues, defence counsel, court clerks, court reporters, court interpreters, court officers, probation officers, victim witness workers and police officers.

You always knew where you stood with Mike. He was honest and straightforward and he had the courage to stand up for what he believed and was always willing to confront injustice. These qualities served him well when he joined the Ontario Court of Justice as a judge in 2020. He was sworn in just two days before the world shut down for Covid.

While the ravages of cancer made his judicial career far too short, he managed to make a significant and lasting impact in his short time on the Bench. His fundamental kindness and fairness endeared him to the lawyers and court staff with whom he worked and benefited the many people who appeared before him as victims, witnesses and accused persons. He was a wonderful colleague and friend.

Mike was very fortunate to have met Wade, the love of his life, with whom he adopted the other love of his life, their dog Jaida.

Mike leaves behind a loving family, including his husband Wade Turner and dog Jaida Essence Hall Callaghan Turner , his parents Mary-Jo and Jim Callaghan, his older sister Maria Callaghan and her partner Sean Hinchberger, his older brother Joe Callaghan and his partner Matthew Perry, his younger sister Marjorie (Marjie) Callaghan and her partner Danny Singh, Mike’s nephew Jacob Hinchberger, his nieces Margo Hinchberger and Isabelle Singh, his many aunts, uncles and cousins and a loving community of friends.

Mike’s family is very grateful to all the health care professionals who cared for Mike and demonstrated such dedication and compassion.

Mike was one of a kind and the world is losing one of its best.

We ask that in lieu of flowers you consider making a donation to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation or the Rainbow Railroad.

The details of Mike's celebration of life will be shared in the coming weeks.  Rest assured, it will include drag queens, sparkling wine, and good memories.




Burial / Entombment / Cremation


May 23, 2024
Julia Lyubomsky
Had the pleasure of working with Michael on his unique projects aimed to aid the most vulnerable persons in our society who come into contact with the legal system. His empathy, compassion and sound judgment will never be forgotten. May his memory be a blessing always. My condolences to family and friends.
May 19, 2024
Jill Wrathall
Please accept my most heartfelt condolences. Mike was my neighbour on the 5th floor of Thompson residence our first year at Ottawa U. He was the most beautiful human being.
May 16, 2024
Lawna Storosko
Dear Mary Jo, Jim and families...So very sorry to hear about Michael's passing. My sincere condolences to you, Michael's family and friends. Lawna
May 07, 2024
I will miss Mike so much. Met him in 2000 on Cuba and we had such a strong friendship, even living far away. I will be your FRAU forever and you will never ever been forgotten!
May 01, 2024
Alexandra Campbell
My most sincere condolences to Mike’s family and many close friends. Mike made a great difference in my life when I spent time at College Park courthouse as a young Crown. He set such a powerful example of grace and good humour under fire that it has inspired me to this day, now 15 years later. He was so kind to me, and he made me laugh so hard, and I am only one of the huge number who could say the same.
May 01, 2024
Mike always had kind words and was an inspiration for me as a young gay crown growing up in a hostile place and he will be dearly missed.
April 30, 2024
Seble Makonnen
My sincere condolences. I will always remember Mike as a kind, thoughtful and compassionate person who brought those qualities to his work as a Crown. His sense of humour, laugh and knowing smile always made days brighter and made the work feel a little easier.
April 29, 2024
Ken Dekker
I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. It has been many years since we were at Dal Law School together but I remember him as a smart, kind and fun loving person. I am so glad to read of the wonderful life he lived and I am so sad to hear that it ended much too soon. My deepest condolences to Mike’s loved ones.
April 28, 2024
Renza Cecchetto
My deepest condolences to Michael’s family. When I heard that he had passed, I was just heartbroken. I had the pleasure of working with Michael when he was a Crown attorney at College Park and I was a defence counsel. Michael was without question one of the most reasonable and compassionate crowns that I have met. He always listened and was particularly sensitive to the challenges faced by mentally ill clients in the criminal justice system. He was truly a Minister of Justice and always sought to do that which was right. Michael was a wonderful person. He was caring, compassionate and actually had a great sense of humour. A good man who is going to be missed by so many . I would like to end with a quote from Shakespeare that so appropriately describes Michael: His life was gentle; and the elements So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN! Rest peacefully my friend
April 26, 2024
Sean Pihl K.C.
To Mike's family, friends and colleagues. I am so sorry for your loss. I graduated with Mike from law School and have not seen him in many years. Clearly he has made a meaningful and lasting impact on his community, the justice system, and the many lives he touched. I will remember Mike as a joyful soul, with infectious laughter and wit.
April 26, 2024
Bill McLean
Very sorry for your loss
April 26, 2024
Nathaniel Jameer and Bill Piggot
Our condolences to you all. Mike was very special. I remember helping him decorate his condominium for a Canadian themed engagement party. We had so much fun that day. Mike helped through the tough moments in my life and I will forever be grateful. We will miss him but forever cherish the moments we had.
April 25, 2024
Scott Worsfold
To the Callaghan family and dear Wade - Mike was one of my closest friends in law school. His friendship and support I will always cherish. Please accept my most sincere condolences. I am heartbroken so I can only imagine the pain you feel. We will always cherish the memories.
April 25, 2024
Olga Calabria
Dear Joe and Matt and family, What a beautiful obituary that honours Michael sp perfectly. Michael lived an incredibly full and purposeful life and is deeply loved by so many. May wonderful memories of Michael live forever in your hearts.
April 25, 2024
Emma Rhodes
He was one of those rare Crowns and Judges that was adored by both sides. A class act with genuine empathy and an honest desire to help. He was loved.
April 24, 2024
Haiku for Mike Remnants of sorrow Cherry blossoms flutter down Peace touching my heart By Krista G, sister of MD, part of the Sarnia posse
April 24, 2024
Chris Hecimovich
Mike has been a friend since our crazy Dalhousie days. There isn’t a person on this earth that will make me smile and laugh like him. With just his glance, I could crack up. He was a good friend, he was there for me during a very dark time and he was kind. I’m so glad he let me into his life again recently to say our goodbyes and heal the short blip of a falling out that we had. That was such a gift that he gave me. He did that for me because he knew when this day came I’d be devastated if we hadn’t of made it right. I love you Mikey. You will be missed so much by so many. My sincerest condolences to you all, his immediate family, his caring husband, his close girlfriends and to Jason, John and his other close community friends. Xoxoxo
April 24, 2024
John Yates
My deepest sympathy to Mike’s husband and family. I met Mike many years ago in Puerto Vallarta and he was always friendly when we returned to Toronto . RIP Mike 🙏🏽
April 23, 2024
Emma Cooper
I fondly remember Mike from St. Patrick's High School and growing up in Sarnia. Aside from being incredibly bright and passionate about justice and politics (especially Quebec in law class), he was always smiling, kind and made every person feel as if they belonged. He was genuine and will be sadly missed. My sincerest condolences to his loved ones.
April 23, 2024
Jennifer Paluch Crawford
I am so very sorry for your loss. I remember Mike from when I used to spend time with Majorie on Salisbury Street and he was always smiling. His memory will stay strong with those that knew him.