The Obit For Joe Callaway

Joel (Joe) Callaway
(1928-2012)

Published in The Log Cabin Democrat from April 18 to April 25, 2012

Joel (Joe) Callaway, 83, of Russellville, Ark., passed Tuesday morning, April 18, 2012, at the Arkansas Hospice Center of Russellville.
Joel was born July 2nd, 1928, in Hollywood, Ark., the oldest of six children to Joel J. and Gertrude Bridges Callaway.

He attended Hollywood and Arkadelphia public schools and high school and furthered his education at Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State colleges.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Charlie C. Callaway.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ann Carlton Callaway; his three sons and their families, Jody and Lynn, Jerry, and Jay and Patty; his nine grandchildren, Josh, Dana (Mark Crouch), Zach, Jennifer, Emily, Jacob, Lily, Jevin and Lizzy Callaway; brothers, Leland and wife Val, Clell and wife Troy, Willis and wife Ann; and sister, Florence and husband Charlie Travis; sister in-law, Saundra Callaway, and sister in-law, Dorothy Phillips.

He excelled at the game of baseball and as a 17 year old teenager was one of top pitching prospects in the state when he signed a professional contract with the Shreveport Sports of the Texas League, a class AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and later had playing stints with the Hot Springs Bathers and the Amarillo Gold Sox, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Joel finished his playing career at Tyler, Texas, and Texas City, Texas, after injuring his rotator cuff and credits baseball for providing the opportunity to meet his life-long love and wife of 62 years, Ann, whom he met while playing at Amarillo, Texas.

Joel began a career with Corps of Engineers that spanned 38 years that he started at the Little Rock Air Force Base and that then took him and his family to Table Rock Dam out of Branson, Mo., Beaver Dam out of Rogers, Ark., Toad suck Lock & Dam out of Conway, and then permanently to the Corp Resident Office at Russellville in 1971 where he was appointed Supervisor of Construction of all Corp operated parks from Little Rock to Ft. Smith on the Arkansas River. While there he was very instrumental in the design, approval, and construction of Old Post Road Park and camp grounds and the Bona Dea Running Trails, both located in Russellville, and enjoyed by many since their completion. He retired in 1987 at which time he received the Commanders Award for Civilian Service from the Corp of Engineers.

He had a life-long passion for baseball and for coaching and teaching his three boys and other youth the game and worked four plus decades in the youth baseball leagues in Little Rock, Branson, Mo., Rogers, Conway, and Russellville, Ark., and touched the life of many boys in the state of Arkansas. After moving to Russellville he was a driving force in a group of Russellville citizens who saw a need for a community baseball complex and who worked tirelessly to bring M. J. Hickey Park and baseball complex to fruition and later a second phase that included a community swimming pool. That park and complex was purposely planned and located adjacent to Russellville High School to provide the Russellville Cyclones a home field when the same group also helped with the start of high school baseball at Russellville and the long and successful high school coaching career of Denny McCrotty.

Joel was a man who believed deeply in integrity, character, and honesty in all that he endeavored in life and was loved and respected by all his family, friends, and co-workers alike. Throughout his professional career and community service he lived by the belief that a man could accomplish many things in life as long as he didn't mind others getting the credit. In life he valued service to God and community and loved the state of Arkansas and the Razorbacks, and served on the Russellville Parks Board and as a member of the Rotary Club for many years. He was considered a master woodsman and hunter by all who knew him and loved to and excelled at turkey, deer, and squirrel hunting throughout his adult life and the hunting cabin stories that were shared are many.

Funeral service will held at Humphrey Chapel on Friday, April 20th, at 1 p.m., with burial at Oakland Cemetery in Russellville.

A visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 19th, at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Arkansas Hospice River Valley Home, 220 John Babish Lane, Russellville, AR 72802.