Era Eugene "Gene" Callahan
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Era Eugene "Gene" Callahan, 80, of Springfield, formerly of Washington, D.C., passed away Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, at his residence.
Gene was born Nov. 5, 1933, in Milford, Ill., to Joe and Helen Meyer Callahan. Joe Callahan, an active Democrat and Illinois state representative, introduced Gene to politics and his way of life. Gene served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany from 1956-1957. He was a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he played baseball and met his future wife. On Oct. 26, 1957, Gene married Antoinette "Ann" Hammond.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Fran; sister, Jody Pruitt; and son, Daniel "Coach Cal" Callahan.
Gene began his career as a political reporter for the Illinois State Register, the predecessor to the State Journal-Register. He wrote a daily political column called Callagrams for many years. He left journalism to become deputy press secretary to Governor Samuel H. Shapiro and later Governor Otto Kerner, eventually serving Lt. Governor Paul Simon. He was director of communications for City Water Light and Power (CWLP) for the city of Springfield. He was U.S. Senator Alan Dixon's Chief of Staff during his years as Illinois State Treasurer, Secretary of State and U.S. Senator. Senator Dixon just passed away last month. Gene also integrated his passion for baseball and was the director of Government Relations for Major League Baseball. In retirement, Gene served on the board of trustees for Southern Illinois University, where his late son, Dan, was the head baseball coach for 16 seasons. It was his and Ann's passion to follow Dan's baseball career. He remained active politically throughout his lifetime, although behind the scenes as advisor to many. In fact, his family is pleased that on his last day of life, he was at a political event at Norb Andy's Tavern for his daughter, Cheri Bustos, a Congresswoman representing the 17th district for Illinois. Almost his entire immediate family was all together. Gene had many friends and enjoyed life to its fullest.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, of Springfield, Ill.; daughters, Lynn (Al) Riddley of Springfield and Cheri (Gerry) Bustos of East Moline; daughter-in-law, Stacy Callahan of Carterville; grandchildren: Brad and Chrissy Ruppert, Tony, Nick and Joey Bustos, and Alexa and Carly Callahan; and sister, Neta (Myron) Erdman of Chenoa.
Gene wanted his family and friends to celebrate his life, not mourn it. A party, complete with Gabatoni's pizza, in Gene's honor will be held at Norb Andy's, 518 E. Capitol Ave., Springfield, from 2-6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8.
In lieu of flowers, please vote on Nov. 4th.
Staab Polk Memorial Home, 8855 State Route 4, Chatham, IL 62629 is serving the Callahan family. Please visit www.staabpolk.com to offer your condolences.