COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Howard Hollis Callaway, known as Bo Callaway, is known for more than just the famous 6,500 acre Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. He was a renowned politician, an Army legend and a mentor to community leaders. Callaway died Saturday, March 15, 2014, at age 86 from a brain hemorrhage.
The visitation for Bo Callaway will be held Tuesday March 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with the Rosary recitation at 7:30 p.m. The services will take place at Christ the King Church in Pine Mountain.
A memorial organ concert will take place this Wednesday at the Callaway Memorial Chapel from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The funeral mass will be Wednesday at noon.
"It's a huge loss for all of us," Senator Josh McKoon told News Leader 9. "Not just for the people who are in the Republican Party, but those who love the state and this country. It's a tremendous loss, and as this happened, I was at an event with 200 Republicans. Callaway's death was announced from the stage and there were audible gasps in the room. Even these last few years, Callaway has been a vigorous presence in the Republican Party."
Senator McKoon said Callaway was his mentor. Callaway supported the Senator when he ran for State Senate.
"When I faced difficult situations, I picked up my phone and called Bo Callaway," McKoon said. "But even after he retired, he didn't just help me. He helped anyone who asked. He was there for everyone."
McKoon said Callaway is a legend to the Republican Party in Georgia.
"The truth of the matter is, before Bo Callaway there was no Republican Party in Georgia," McKoon explained. "His run for congress in 1964 was what founded the modern Republican Party. Before Bo Callaway ran for congress, there were no elected Republicans at the federal level."
Bob Hydrick, a former Columbus Mayor and Callaway's friend, agrees with McKoon.
"That 1964 campaign was a ground breaking campaign," Hydrick said. "Callaway is the first Republican elected to Congress since the Reconstruction era. We won a big victory then. It was a tremendous surprise to many people."
Hydrick said one of the most notable accomplishments the LaGrange native was his position as U.S. Secretary of the Army under President Richard Nixon in 1973. Callaway was also an instructor at Fort Benning, and he also served in Korea. McKoon said Callaway showed his love for our country even after he became ill.
"Callaway became a member of the Rotary Club of Columbus a few years ago," McKoon recalled. "At the beginning of every meeting we would say our Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Even though Callaway was in declining health and was dependent to a wheelchair, he would always stand for the Pledge of Allegiance."
"I was saddened to learn of Bo Callaway's passing this weekend," added Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss (R). "He was a long-time mentor for me and served as my statewide campaign chair during my 2002 campaign for the U.S. Senate. He was an inspiration to many of us coming through the Georgia Republican ranks and played a critical role in the growth of the Republican party in Georgia. Bo was one of the finest men I have ever met. My prayers are with his family during this time."
Bo Callaway was born April 2, 1927 in LaGrange, Georgia. He earned a degree in Military Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. Callaway also served as Chairman of Interfinancial, Inc, in Atlanta, Ga. Callaway was also the CEO of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado from 1970 to 2003. He also served as President of Callaway Gardens from 1993 to 2004. His son Edward took over that position.
"Bo Callaway was a man of integrity," Hydrick recalled. "If he said he was going to do something, he did it."
Bo Callaway is survived by 5 children, 16 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.