GA GOP Patriarch And Civic Legend Bo Callaway Has Died

Bo Callaway has died.  The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has the news:

Mention the name Howard “Bo” Callaway and visions of a lush forest with lakes and a beach and azaleas drift into the mind like a breeze on a mild springtime day.

But Callaway — who died Saturday at the age of 86, nearly two years after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage — was so much more complex than the man so well known for helping his parents, Cason and Virginia Hand Callaway, get Callaway Gardens in nearby Pine Mountain, Ga., up and running six decades ago.

He was a political force who experienced his share of ups and down, making major headlines along the way. They ranged from being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a “Go with Bo” campaign to a controversial failed bid to become governor of Georgia, a potential stepping stone that could have led to even bigger things.

From that disappointment, he would rise to the post of Secretary of the Army under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. But that was followed by his resignation as Ford’s re-election campaign manager amid a congressional investigation into his operations at the Crested Butte ski resort his family purchased out of bankruptcy in Colorado in 1970.

First, honor the man and read the rest here.

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Callaway for the first time at his Gardens (he actually referred to them as “Mama’s gardens” as I recall) during Christmas of 2000.  It was somewhat surreal to have the Christmas in Lights display narrated by the man whose gardens bear his name.

But I had known of Bo Callaway from the time I knew of Georgia politics.  My family’s state rep, a Democrat, voted for Lester Maddox when the election went to the legislature, despite his district voting for Callaway.  That vote is what facilitated my family’s permanent move toward the GOP side of the ballot.  I can’t remember the Rep’s name but my Grandmother never forgot it, or his vote.

Callaway also proved there is life worth living after losing a political race.  It was a life well lived.  Anyone who calls Georgia home is better for him having been one of us.  Rest in peace Mr. Callaway, and prayers of condolences and thanks are extended to his family and friends.

As is our custom, we’re going to leave the comments closed.  I’d suggest using Monday’s Morning Reads as the time to discuss any personal insights into Callaway’s contributions to Georgia, both our politics and our state in general.