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Era Eugene "Gene" Callahan
1933 - 2014
Butler Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center
8855 Route 4
Chatham, IL
SPRINGFIELD - Era Eugene "Gene" Callahan, 80, of Springfield and formerly of Washington, D.C., passed away Monday, August 4, 2014, at his residence.

Gene was born November 5, 1933, in Milford 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 to 1957. He was a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he played baseball and met his future wife. On October 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 Gov. Samuel H. Shapiro and later Gov. Otto Kerner; eventually serving Lt. Gov. Paul Simon. He was director of communications for City Water Light and Power (CWLP) for the city of Springfield. He was U.S. Sen. 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 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 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 adviser 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 together. Gene had many friends and enjoyed life to its fullest.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, of Springfield; 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 from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, August 8, 2014, at Norb Andy's, 518 E. Capitol Ave., Springfield. Staab Polk Memorial Home in Chatham is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, please vote on November 4th. Please visit to offer your condolences.
Published by Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Aug. 5, 2014.
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Funeral services provided by:
Butler Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center
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26 Entries
Ann and family, I have been out of state and was sorry to hear of Gene's passing. C.E. always enjoyed talking with Gene and family. He was so friendly, full of life and had a passion for SIU. Love to all of you, Joleen Welch
August 22, 2014
Dear Ann, Lynn and Cheri - We are so saddened to hear about Gene passing away. We have always admired your family and have watched you go through many of life's trials with strength and grace. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you find a new path. We were sorry to miss the celebration of his life - and what a life he had! With great fondness and love, the Foxes - Libby, Ann, Andy and Laura
Laura Fox Kelly
August 13, 2014
Ann and family, our condolences to you all. You and Gene often opened up your home to us as we traveled to Springfield to watch Scott play baseball. You were great supporters of baseball and everything SIU. He will be greatly missed by everyone.

Gary and Kolene Lucht and Scott and Cara Lucht
August 10, 2014
I only met Gene a few times, but was always impressed with his good nature and friendly demeanor. Plus I got to know his daughters and their families. A life well lived is a life that enriches others. This man touched so many lives and nutured many people, using politics in its finest sense of serving our nation, Illinois and our local communities. We will miss him, because we badly need so many good spirits like him today. Our thoughts & prayers to all of his family & friends.
Mike Matejka
August 10, 2014
My thoughts and prayers are with dear Ann, his wonderful daughters, Lynn and Cheri, and their families. Gene was a classic. He hired me in
very first job out of college and is
still the best boss I have ever
worked with. He was always
disciplined, principled, direct and
fair...and also loads of fun. I will miss him tremendously.
Sabrina Reilly
August 9, 2014
Sincere Condolences to Ann and Family
from Joanne Schultz and family.
August 8, 2014
Ann, Cheri and family my heart is heavy for you at this time. I am so happy that I had the honor to meet your Father when he was up here once in the Quad Cities, my family in Springfield all knew him and could not say enough good about him, what a wonderful human being, someone to be so proud of. Cheri in honor of your fathers memory I will be making a donation to the Quad City Honor Flight - God Bless his soul and all of you.
Mary Ann Ackley
August 8, 2014
Ann, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this extremely difficult time. Gene was a great friend, he will be dearly missed.
Kathleen Marrin
August 7, 2014
Cheri and Families- My dearest sympathy to all! My sister, Jan Pohlman, has always spoke highly of your father and I am sure he will be missed by all! I wish I could of had the honor to meet him! Thoughts and Prayers! Kyle Pohlman
August 6, 2014
First, my condolences to Ann and the entire Callahan family. I was proud to know and work with Gene. He was a unique and honorable man and lived life to the fullest. He always remembered me on my birthday. Rest assured I will vote November 4th and I will remember Gene Callahan.
Linda Green
August 6, 2014
From An Old Soldier's Prayer:

I have fought when others feared to serve.
I have gone where others failed to go.
I've lost friends in war and strife,
Who valued Duty more than love of life.

Gene Callahan was a proud member
of the United States Army
and he will always be remembered
as "one of us."

For God and Country
Bill Davies
Commander Post 2
Bill Davies
August 6, 2014
Callahan Family,
Thoughts and prayers to each and every one of you. A great man is lost, but remembrance of his life and dedication lives on. I met Gene as a player at SIU under Coach Cal and he was always there to give support in whatever capacity he could. A true baseball guy!!! You could always count on Ann and him being at every game they could.

With Sympathy,

Cory Schrank-Rockford Illinois 94-98 SIU baseball
August 6, 2014
To the Callahan Family:

I am so sorry to hear of Gene's passing. I had the pleasure of meeting him when I worked for U.S. Senator Paul Simon. Always interested in my story and what I was doing. I am sure heaven has quite the crew sitting at the round table discussing the political events to come.
Such a kind soul and an awesome man!

My deepest sympathy,

Tracy Johnson - Chandlerville, Illinois
August 6, 2014
The family of Adolph and Marcella Belval send our sincere condolences on the passing of Mr. Callahan, We especially appreciated his annual Friend in Need Christmas donation in memory of all those friends that had passed during the year.
August 6, 2014
Ann and Cheri - We were shocked to hear that Gene had passed. More than a friend he was a force of nature. Our hearts go out to you but as he wished we will celebrate his life (and vote in November). His many kindnesses to our family were blessings we will never forget.
Liz and Stu Megaw
August 6, 2014
Dear Ann, I am so sorry to hear of Gene's passing. I was just thinking when Mr. Dixon passed that he was the last of the Crew. But we know that God knows best and he is in a better place. May God bless your family and hope to see you soon. I am the daughter of Earl & Yvonne Rice.
August 6, 2014
Our deepest sympathy goes out to you (Ann)and your family. Gene was a one of a kind wonderful man. What an amazing wealth of knowledge and politics he had! He and my dad were so much alike. I will always remember Gene, Al Manning and dad sitting in the living room talking politics and about putting a book together a week before dad passed. Now they can talk politics and plan their strategies in heaven. Just know that my heart goes out to all of you for all you have been through and with losing Danny not that long ago. God bless you and your family.
Rhonda (Owens) Krueger
August 5, 2014
We extend our sympathies to Ann and family. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers, with fond memories of Gene always.
Paul & Lynne O'Shea
August 5, 2014
I met Gene when I worked for the publisher of the SJ-R. Like everyone else whose path he crossed, Gene made me feel like I was special -- he was unfailingly courteous, valued my assistance on the rare occasion when I could offer it, and always had time to acknowledge me. Talking with Gene always left me feeling good -- and I counted him as a friend, someone I could trust. His devotion to his friends was exceeded only by his love and devotion to his family. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to know Gene Callahan, who was indeed a very special guy, and I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Callahan family. God bless you, and God bless Gene. Donna
Donna Matthews
August 5, 2014
I am one of the fortunate ones...people's paths cross....and mine did so with Cheri at Illinois College.... from that time on we became lifelong friends. I got to know and love the Callahan Clan. They don't come much better than this. To Cheri, Ann, Lynn, Danny's family and all your families I extend my deepest sympathy. What a legacy your Dad has left behind. Sincerely. RIP Gene. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you always....The Pohlman's
Jan Pohlman
August 5, 2014
Gene and I spoke on the phone a few times a year and I had chilli at Joe Rogers and a tenderloin at the Sportsmen's with him a couple of times.

He always called me(and many others)
to wish happy birthday every year. I enjoyed talking politics with him and valued his opinion about candidates, elected officials and issues.

Gene was a great guy. My condolences to Ann and his entire family.
Don Trello
August 5, 2014
The man upstairs needed a man from today's world. He needed a true gentleman, a man with great wisdom and knowledge. He needed a man that had a great politcal mind, a man who dearly loved his family. In short, he needed our friend Gene Callahan.
Denny and Mary Ellen Jacobs
August 5, 2014
My condolences to the entire Callahan family. Although he is not with us, his memory will live on. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Callahan while playing for the Salukis during our 1990 championship season. He was a true Saluki at heart. He will be missed.
Jeff Nelson
August 5, 2014
I am truly saddened to learn of Gene's passing.Just a wonderful man that never knew a stranger.I will miss his warm smile and warm greeting every time he saw you .Sitting with him & Ann at saluki baseball games is a cherished memory .may God bless the Callahan Family during this difficult time.Gene is with Dan now.
Bill Mc Minn
Bill Mc Minn
August 5, 2014
Our deepest sympathies to all but great joy in having known Gene and benefited from his advice.
Randy and Alice Jacobs
August 5, 2014
Rest In Peace my friend. Gene was a mentor to many of us. The world has lost a one of kind true gentleman who left a legacy that will never be forgotten.

To Ann and the entire Callahan family, you are in our prayers. Our hearts are heavy today and tears are being shed but many of those tears are also tears of joy as we remember Gene and all he meant and taught to many of us.
Randy and Ann Wells
August 5, 2014
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