Every day we are surrounded by people who touch our lives. We smile, say hello, maybe chat a bit, not even aware how our acquaintance has impacted the community around us. We also know precious little about our “friend,” their experiences, their heartbreaks (because we all have them,) and their celebrations.
So let’s take a peak at two Annapolitan leaders you may have encountered along the way. Two who have made a difference to so many they touched.
It was 1932 and Anna Eisenstein was celebrating her third Birthday in the Lobby of the Annapolis movie theater her father owned. Like many middle-class families on the rise, Anna, her mom and dad and brother lived upstairs over the Star theater on Calvert street. The Star was a small 350-seat movie house, the only one serving African Americans in Anne Arundel County, each seat filled on Saturdays with kids eager to see the Westerns with Hop Along Cassiday or Gene Autry. When Anna was 7, the family moved to Murray Hill. The Star remained until the 1960s.
In 2021, Anna Eisenstein, now known as Annapolis philanthropist Anna Greenberg, would be a Who’s Who honoree as a Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian. Her life over the years was marked by leadership in everything she touched. Chris Nelson, retired President of St Johns College said of her, “she takes the profession of a volunteer seriously and can accomplish things that others can’t. Anna is able to use her power of persuasion to make things happen.”
Anna credited her parents with her passion for helping others. “I was taught to give back. My father always shared what he had.” But her father, who loved song and dance and the movies that were sweeping America, also had deep depressions, claiming his own life in 1963. Her mother’s organizing skills held the family together, influencing Anna’s leadership skills. She was chosen president of every community group she contributed to.
An Annapolis girl, Anna married a class of 1950 U.S. Naval Academy graduate Edwin G. Greenberg from Trenton, New Jersey. His service in the Navy would take him on assignment around the world. Anna went with him. In Japan, she taught American culture and language at the Japanese Defense Academy. They gave her an honorary award for service, one of many she would receive throughout her lifetime.
Back in the States, Anna served in the psychiatric wards of Harrisburg State Hospital helping patients to obtain their GED diplomas.
The Greenbergs had three children, Joyce, David and Susan, who died in infancy. Caring for her family was a priority. Anna’s volunteer activities were done when her husband was at work or her kids at school. In 1972, three years before Captain Greenberg retired, Anna Greenberg was chosen the East Coast military wife of the year.
The Greenbergs returned to Annapolis in 1975.
Now an empty-nester, Anna reached out to the community she loved but hadn’t seen for many years, continuing her passion for community service by immersing herself in the nonprofit arts. She was a woman of firsts … a founder of the Anne Arundel County Library Foundation, Hadassah, First Night Annapolis, a president of the Annapolis Symphony Committee, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Friends of St. John’s College, National Council of Jewish Women, and Scholarships for Scholars, which rewards academic excellence in Anne Arundel County.
A straight forward and outspoken educator, she initiated and chaired the Anne Arundel Giving Circle of the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. Perhaps the strongest fundraiser in Annapolis for causes she cared about, many programs have benefited and survived to help an ever-larger group of people in need.
Anna Greenberg says she doesn’t type or write news releases but she thinks of things, she delegates and knows how to match people up. A woman not afraid of change, always ready to find a solution to a problem, she is happy to feel she may have made a difference in the peoples lives she touched and through the many community groups she organized and led on their way toward excellence.
While education and the arts nonprofits were Anna’s interest, Sports and athletics was the interest of Richard “Dick” Callahan.
Director of Annapolis Recreation and Parks for 34 years, Dick touched the lives of hundreds of young people in our town.
Dick was born on the Eastern Shore in 1936, and his family lived in Catonsville, where he grew up. At Catonsville High School, he participated on the track team as a high jumper. A tall natural athlete Callahan won the State, County and dual cross-country meets for Catonsville in the 8th grade. When his Mother died when he was 14, in grief Dick cut school, sometimes just shooting basketballs at a community playground. Concerned about his son’s vulnerability, he was sent to live with his grandparents in Bay Ridge. He credits his Grandmother with “saving” him.
Annapolis has been his home ever since.
Callahan made a mark for himself at Annapolis High. Basketball was his sport and he led the Panthers to the state finals in 1954, a championship they lost in the last minute 52-50. However, Callahan was consistently voted the outstanding ace player, and that won him a scholarship to Washington College in Chestertown. At Washington, he also played lacrosse, was named as one of top midfielders in the country and named an All American.
Demonstrating his leadership skills, Dick was chosen president of his senior class. In 1959, he was recommended by the college to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He was also awarded the Thomas Reeder Spedden Medal for excellence in scholarship and athletics.
His prospects for professional Basketball with the Baltimore Bullets ended when he damaged his leg in a lacrosse scrimmage at Johns Hopkins University. The injury sidelined him from lacrosse and basketball in 1960, the year he graduated.
Dick’s interest in sports never let up. At Rec and Parks, he founded the first basketball league that played in Eastport until moving it to Truxtun park. The league was regularly scouted by college coaches Lefty Dreisell of Maryland and John Thompson of Georgetown.
Mayor Dean Johnson named the basketball court at Truxtun Park for Dick.
In recognition of his leadership as an active member of the Housing Authority Board, the baseball field at Harbor House in Eastport was created and named for him.
He is in the Athletic hall of fame at Washington College and on the wall of honor at Annapolis High School.
Dick opines that he didn’t pursue tennis or swimming. With his long arms, he would have been a natural at these sports. He did use them to rescue a young boy who fell off a pier at Bay Ridge and, unable to swim, was sinking in the water’s depth.
Dick describes one of his proudest moments a receiving the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Anne Arundel County in 2019.
An excellent athlete himself, Dick dominated the Sun Paper sports headlines in the early years of his life. And than he dedicated his athletic ability to build programs for youth in the city. He used his leadership qualities to promote program excellence and open doors for opportunities for young people in the sports world. He was a mentor who touched the lives of many.
Making a difference in the lives of others is never easy. Anna Greenberg and Dick Callahan, two very different people, have made a difference.
Ellen Moyer is a former mayor of Annapolis. She welcomes comments and idea sharing and can be contacted at [email protected].
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