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Milford native Gene Callahan dies

                          Served as Democratic adviser, MLB lobbyist

Milford native Eugene "Gene" Callahan died at his Springfield home Monday. He was 80 years-old.

Callahan was former chief of staff to former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon and was a political adviser to many local Democrats. He also served major league baseball as a lobbyist under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.

Callahan was best known for his service under Dixon, but he also served on the staffs of former governors Samuel Shapiro and Otto Kerner, both locally successful Democrats. He retired as head of government relations for Major League Baseball. He was the first lobbyist for the league.

"Gene was just a wonderful man. He was very sincere and a true and blue Democrat who had the fortune to hold some very important positions," said former state Rep. Phil Novak, of Bradley. "It's very ironic that he passed away only two weeks after Alan Dixon."

The Callahan family retained strong roots in Iroquois County as hog farmers and had the distinction of serving in Democratic Party positions in a predominantly Republican county. Callahan's brother, Fran, served as the county's Democratic chairman.

Gene is the uncle of former WGFA National Farm Broadcaster Colleen Callahan.

The family plans a celebration of Callahan's life in Springfield.

94.1 WGFA