Eulogy – Jeff Calladine
It is with very deep sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, Jeff Calladine, has passed away. Jeff had been suffering with ill health for some time, and took a turn which he did not recover from. He is survived by his wife and two sons. The thoughts of everyone at OCA go out to Jeff’s family.
At OCA we are a small team, less than 30 of us at HQ in Barnsley where Jeff worked. That smallness gives a familial nature to the place, and in losing Jeff it definitely feels like losing one of the family. Indeed often Jeff took on a paternal role for many.
Many will probably never realise the impact that Jeff has had on the studies of countless students since he joined OCA in 2015. Jeff started with OCA working in what was then known as Dispatch, sending out course materials, handling student work sent in for assessment and laying it out so that the assessors could easily see everything that had been provided, wrapping it back up carefully and sending it back. Not only that, but Jeff brought with him an understanding and keen interest in health and safety, helping to manage that side of OCA, as well as providing that wealth of knowledge to student submission guidance, and student events and research, helping with exhibitions and the like. He was also known to put to good use his background in health and safety and electrics to do PAT testing and repairs at OCAs previous premises.
When the covid pandemic hit, Jeff like all of us had to quickly adapt to working from home which made dispatch and logistics interesting to say the least. Instead Jeff turned his hand to navigating the ever-changing and often confusing guidance on health and safety practice including practical measures to tackle covid both at home and in the office.
More important than any work he ever did though was the man that Jeff was. An incredibly kind and generous soul, he had time for everyone, and was diligent and unflappable.
He had some amazing stories of his younger days from when he was an aspiring musician; my personal favourite is the story of how Jeff, playing guitar in a band called Heritage, shared rooms and stages with Def Leppard, who later would go on to worldwide fame, with Jeff being asked by Def Leppard to join them but turning them down in favour of Heritage who he felt had better prospects. Another favourite was the story of him doing a soundcheck at Sheffield City Hall in front of a wall of speakers, told to play by the technician which led to Jeff being deafened by the wall of noise that hit him playing those first chords.
This latter episode is the root of Jeff’s hearing problems, where you’d always have to repeat yourself before Jeff would hear you. It also led to the ringtone on Jeff’s phone to be so abnormally loud so that he could hear it; one minute you’d be working away peacefully, and next Layla by Derek and the Dominos blaring from the other side of the room.
Writing these stories here does not do them justice as they were told with such warmth and enthusiasm and never a hint of regret or wistfulness. He was a wonderful man, and he has left a mark on everyone at OCA in some way or another, and he will be dearly missed.