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The Family of Gene Callahan Regrettably Announces Passing of Gene Callahan, "An Illinois Icon"

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Era Eugene Callahan, 80, former chief of staff to the late U.S. Senator Alan J. Dixon and Director of Government Relations for Major League Baseball died Monday, Aug. 4 in his Springfield, IL home.

A native of Milford, IL, he was a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville where he played baseball and met his wife, Ann.

Gene was the beloved husband of Ann Callahan; father of the late Dan Callahan, Lynn Callahan Riddley and U.S. Representative Cheri Callahan Bustos.

In addition to his family and friends, his other loves were baseball, the State of Illinois and the Democratic Party.

He served in the U.S. Army before moving to Springfield to work at the Illinois State Register, the predecessor to The State Journal-Register. He wrote a daily political column called Callagrams for many years.

Gene left journalism to become a deputy press secretary under Gov. Sam Shapiro; later Gov. Otto Kerner; eventually serving as chief of staff to then Lt. Gov. Paul Simon. He was chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. Alan J. Dixon, who passed away just last month. He wrapped up his political career as 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 passion to follow Dan's baseball career.

He remained active politically throughout his lifetime, although behind the scenes as an 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 of 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; two daughters; sons-in-law, Al Riddley and Gerry Bustos; daughter-in-law, Stacy Callahan; grandchildren, Brad and Chrissy Ruppert, Tony, Nick and Joey Bustos, and Alexa and Carly Callahan; his sister and brother-in-law, Neta and Myron Erdman and many nieces and nephews.

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 East Capitol Ave., Springfield, 2-6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 8.

In lieu of flowers, be sure to vote on Nov. 4.

SOURCE The Family of Gene Callahan

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