Callaway funeral today

by W. Winston Skinner



The Funeral Mass for Howard Hollis “Bo” Callaway Sr., the last survivor of a three-way governor’s race in 1966 that also included Ellis Arnall of Newnan, will be held today in Pine Mountain.

The service is scheduled for noon at Christ the King Church in Pine Mountain, said Rachel M. Crumbley, director of marketing and public relations for Callaway Gardens. In celebration of Callaway’s life, a memorial organ concert will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today at the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel at Callaway Gardens. “Guest books will be available to sign and share memories,” Crumbley said. Admission to the gardens will be complimentary today.

Gov. Nathan Deal proclaimed today as Howard “Bo” Callaway Day in Georgia and has ordered flags flown at half-staff throughout the state.

Callaway, 86, was chairman emeritus of the trustees of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, the non-profit that operates Callaway Gardens. He also was Georgia’s first Republican U.S. representative since Reconstruction, when he was elected in 1964. In addition, he served as Secretary of the Army.

In 1966, Callaway ran for governor on the Republican ticket. The Democratic candidate was Lester Maddox, an Atlanta restaurateur with strong segregationist views. Maddox had come to prominence by refusing to serve blacks at his restaurant, sending away three black college students using an axe handle and finally selling the restaurant rather than serve African-American customers.

Arnall was born and grew up in Newnan, where he also began his law practice. A progressive, he had served as governor from 1943-1947. He kicked off his campaign in 1966 with a meeting in the courtroom of the Coweta County Courthouse.

It is likely that many Republicans cast ballots in the Democratic primary. Arnall got the most votes, but not enough to avoid a runoff with Maddox, who was the victor in the runoff. Jimmy Carter, then a state senator, finished third.

After Maddox’s runoff victory, Arnall supporters launched a write-in campaign. In the general election, 453,665 votes were cast for Callaway and 450,626 for Maddox. Arnall’s 69,025 write-in votes meant there was no majority. A quirk in the Georgia Constitution sent the contest to the Georgia legislature which — with a strong Democratic majority — put Maddox in the governor’s mansion.

Arnall died in 1992, and Maddox attended his funeral at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan. Maddox died in 2003.

Callaway was born April 2, 1927, in LaGrange and came from a longtime Georgia family with a large number of Baptist preachers in it — including his great-grandfather, Abner Reeves Callaway. Bo Callaway’s father, Cason, and his uncle, Fuller, both followed their father into the textile business and married sisters, Virginia and Alice Hand, respectively, from Pelham in south Georgia.

Cason and Virginia Callaway founded Callaway Gardens in Harris County. Fuller and Alice Callaway lived at Hills and Dales, a LaGrange estate that is now a museum.

Harry Welbourne Callaway, an uncle of Cason and Fuller, married Senoia native Lena Hand. Lena Callaway’s stepmother was Senoia civic leader and educator Coral Moses Hand.

Bo Callaway died Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Columbus. “While he may be gone in body, as a founder of Callaway Gardens with my grandparents, his spirit will live on in his love of and vision for Callaway Gardens,” said Edward Callaway, his son. “Both our family and the gardens family will miss him deeply.”

Bo Callaway graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. From 1944-1945, he attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, leaving there to become a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

During his military career, Callaway served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was a platoon leader in Korea, an instructor in tactics at Fort Benning and was the recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge, three Campaign ribbons, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. Callaway ended his military service in 1953 to return to his home in Hamilton where he could help his father develop and manage Callaway Gardens. He served as chairman, president and/or CEO at the gardens on three different occasions for a total of 23 years.

He had been a member of the ICCF Board since 1958.

In addition to his service in Congress and his race for governor, Callaway was from 1970-1973 a top executive with Interfinancial, Inc. in Atlanta. He was appointed Secretary of the Army in 1973 and was awarded the medal of distinguished Public Service by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1975. Callaway had experience as a manager of political campaigns. He managed Gerald Ford’s 1976 presidential election campaign and later helped a new generation of Republicans rise to power in Georgia. He managed Saxby Chambliss’s 2002 campaign for U.S. Senate.

“He was a long-time mentor for me,” Chambliss said. “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.”

“It was with purpose and perseverance that Bo planted the seeds that grew the Georgia Republican Party into what it is today,” said John Padgett, Georgia Republican Party chairman. “Bo Callaway was an inspirational leader and will be sorely missed.” From 1970-2003, Callaway was the principal owner and CEO of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. In 1980, he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Colorado and from 1981-1987 was chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Callaway was a member of several boards of directors during his life including Trust Company of Georgia, Georgia Power Company and its parent company The Southern Company, S.C.I. Systems Inc. and United Bank of Denver. He served as chairman of the tourism committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was vice president of that organization for three years.

In 2001, Callaway was appointed to the board of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism. He served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and was a member of the National 4-H Committee and Phi Kappa Phi.

Callaway is survived by five children, Howard H. “Bo” Callaway, Jr. of Bristol, Va.; Elizabeth “Betsy” Callaway Considine of Denver, Colo.; Virginia Callaway Martin of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Edward Cason Callaway of Hamilton; and Ralph Walton Callaway of Columbus; 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Laura Elizabeth “Beth” Walton Callaway and brother Cason J. Callaway, Jr. Callaway also had a sister, the late Mrs. Clifford (Jinks) Petersen of Beverly Hills, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions be made to the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, c/o Callaway Gardens, P.O. Box 2000, Pine Mountain, GA 31822.

Padgett described Callaway as “a clear, clarion voice for conservative values, principles, and policies at a time when Democrats dominated the Deep South.” “Few individuals throughout our history can match the legacy that Bo Callaway left on Georgia politics,” Deal said. “Bo blazed a trail that led to the dramatic growth of the Georgia GOP, which went from virtually nonexistent when he ran for governor to holding every statewide elected office today. Bo stood up for what he believed in even when the odds and the political system were stacked against him.”

Chambliss’s remarks were more personal. “Bo was one of the finest men I have ever met.” “People like Bo cannot be easily replaced,” Padgett stated, “but I am confident that his story will inspire generations of Republicans for years to come.”

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