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Gene Callahan, father of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, passes away

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Gene Callahan, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ father, has passed away.

Callahan touched many lives as he was in politics for 40 years, a journalist, and a lobbyist for Major League Baseball.

“Early this morning, Congresswoman Bustos received word that her beloved father passed away overnight at his home in Springfield. Congresswoman Bustos and her family thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and the outpouring of support on this difficult day,” said the Communications Director for Bustos.

Many extended their memories and condolences Monday, August 4, 2014 as word of his passing got out.

“Gene Callahan was my trusted friend. I never made an important decision in my political life without calling Gene,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “He was totally honest, painfully candid, and completely loyal. You knew that if the world turned on you, Gene would be the last person standing by your side.”

"Illinois lost a great statesman today,” said Representative Bobby Shilling. “Gene Callahan admirably dedicated his life to public service and had a positive impact on the State of Illinois. My prayers go out to Congresswoman Bustos and her entire family."

Callahan was a journalist with the Illinois State Register for ten years. He then moved on to be the assistant press secretary for Governor Sam Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Paul Simon’s press secretary.

In the mid-70s, Callahan began working with Alan Dixon, who served as Illinois State Treasurer and Illinois Secretary of State. Callahan was Dixon’s chief of staff and political advisor when he moved into the U.S. Senate.

Callahan later started working as the chief lobbyist for Major League Baseball, trying to preserve its exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act.

“Loretta and I have lost a dear friend,” Durbin said. “The Illinois political scene will never be the same without the Pride of Milford, Illinois, Gene Callahan.”