Charles J. Callahan was born April 7, 1927 in Braschear, Missouri. He was the first born of two children by Herschel and Marie Callahan. He and his younger sister grew up playing and working hard on the family farm near Kirksville, Missouri. He often spoke of his childhood memories; at times, the ice and cold of the Missouri winters was such that he and his sister would ice skate to and from school, a small one room schoolhouse about one and one half miles across the hills and slopes. As was often the case in those days, it was up hill both ways! Charles developed a love and respect for life on the farm that only grew deeper while caring for the livestock and raising the crops. This passion stayed with him throughout his life.|
Charles' family was active in the local church. At an early age he was taught the Christion faith and he placed trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. His was a deep and quiet faith; he lived it more than he spoke it. Charles's faith was tested, and his heart broken at the loss of a son at birth, two grandsons, and his wife, Jean. In 1946, Charles married his high school sweetheart, Jean Carolyn Ward. They graduated from high school together in Garden City, Kansas, where he had moved to at the age of 15 to live and work with an uncle, and to finish his schooling. Charles enjoyed the sport of track, especially long distance running, at which he competed at the state level. He and Jean moved to the Anton area in 1947 at the age of 20 years each to rent and operate 10 quarters of dry land farm ground that had been purchased by a large Kansas farmer, whom Charles had been working for. Over the years, they then purchased the farm five miles north of Anton. He was later able to purchase additional land and rent considerable land, as well. Four sons were born to Charles and Jean, one of which died at birth. Charles and Jean began worshipping at Bethel Union Church where they served in various capacities over the years. Jean played the piano and organ, taught Sunday school, and was active in many of the ladies' functions. Charles served on various boards and building committees, and also taught Sunday school.
Charles was active in community leadership. Down through the years, he served on the Anton and the Arickaree School Boards, the Y-W Board, and in the 60's served on the NFO (National Farmers Organization) Board. Charles, together with several other Anton community members, helped form the Anton CO-OP Association; later at which he served on the Board of Directors. Before the farm developed into irrigation, Charles spent several winters running the Parriot Realty and Insurance office in Akron.
One of Charles' great love was flying. He had aspired to joining the Air Force as a pilot, yet could not pass the vision tests. He did, however, own and fly three different planes over a 30 year span. He built his own runway in his pasture by driving up and down the runway with loaded grain trucks after a good rain storm to smooth out the course. This, however, did not stop the cattle from occasionally standing broadside in the path of the plane. For many years, Charles acted as coordinator (Foreman) of several farms in eastern Colorado and western Kansas. He helped see that each farmer was signed up for all the appropriate farm programs. He would fly his plane from farm to farm a couple times per year and visit with the respective operators. He loved flying and he loved farming.
Charles' devotion to agriculture, its advancement, production, conservation and innovation was evident in his farming operation and the planting of one of the landmark windbreaks in Washington County.
Without question Charles' greatest love was his family. He took great pride and interest in the lives and activities of his three sons and his eight grandchildren. He and Jean were constant supporters and fans of the various family members' school, church or community activities.
During their later years, Charles and Jean spent several winters in the warmth of Florida. They made many lasting friends from across the country during these winter stays, and greatly enjoyed walking the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.
Faith, family and farming describe the life of Charles Callahan. In November of 2013, Charles was blessed to pose for a five generation photo consisting of himself, son Eldon, grandson Robert, great granddaughter Ally, and great-great grandson Trevor.
Charles passed away on February 13, 2014 after experiencing complications from a heart attack suffered on February 1st. Mourning his death are his three sons, Eldon and wife Nancy of Yuma, Ernest of Niles, Ohio, and David and wife Terri of Akron; his grandchildren Robert, James, Mike, Clifford, Patrick, and Megan; his close friend MaryAnn Saffer; his sister and brother-in-law Anna Marie and Paul Dodsworth of Fulton, Missouri, and many other relatives and friends.
Preceding Charles in death were his parents, his wife Jean Callahan, his son Robert Herschel Callahan, two grandsons Michael David Callahan and Clinton Ward Callahan; and his daughter-in-law Diane Remington Callahan.
Funeral services were held at the United Methodist Church in Akron, with Pastor Phil Vogels officiating. Judy Woodward and LeaAnn Layborn sang "Blessed Assurance", and "The Old Rugged Cross" was sung by the congregation. The Bowin Funeral Home was in charge of the services. Memorial donations may be made in Charles' name to the Arickaree or Akron Future Farmers of America departments.
Published in Akron News-Reporter on Feb. 19, 2014