WILDER, Ky. (AP) - Jim Callahan, who served as a state representative for northern Kentucky's 67th District for 18 years until his retirement in 2004, has died. He was 74.
An obituary posted by Dobbling, Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Homes says Callahan died Saturday at Carmel Manor in Fort Thomas.
The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/1bdflPx) reports the Democrat from Wilder was once thought of as the most powerful member of northern Kentucky's delegation in Frankfort. The newspaper reports he served four terms as House Majority Caucus chairman and was an important figure in getting funding for projects in the area including the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Northern Kentucky University, Newport on the Levee and the Purple People Bridge.
He also led the effort to pass the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act, which led to the founding of 16 Kentucky Community Technical College system schools and sponsored legislation that allowed chartiable gaming such as bingo at churches and community halls.
"He was a giant for Northern Kentucky, and I will miss my friend and mentor," Mr. Callahan's successor, State Rep. Dennis Keene of Wilder, wrote in a Facebook posting. "My thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family during this difficult time."
Callahan's son, Brian, said he began receiving condolences shortly after his father's death.
"We appreciate all the love and support we have received from family, friends and members of the community during this difficult time," Brian Callahan said. "Our Dad worked hard for many years in an attempt to make the Northern Kentucky region a wonderful place to live and raise a family, and for that, we are proud and very grateful."
Aside from his son, Callahan is survived by his wife, Diane Callahan; his daughter, Shari Gearding; and nine grandchildren.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://ww w.nky.com