By Ken Feltman
Jim Brady was a wonderful, zany man. To know him was to laugh a lot. Could I tell you stories!
The trip to the Army-Navy game shortly after President Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976 … on the campaign trail with Senator Dirksen … throwing his Christmas tree, lights, decorations and all, from his high rise condo into the Chicago River one July just because it was a little brown … killer trees … and so many more. His wife Sarah anchored Jim, before and after that terrible day in March, 1981. Through it all, Jim had a disarming sense of humor that smoothed the way for the things he worked toward.
Gene Callahan was a loyal friend and mentor. To know him was to have as good a friend as you needed. Yes, I could tell you stories.
He was a hard-working journalist-turned-political pro who navigated the swirling waters of Illinois and Washington politics with savvy, street-smart but gentle genius. As chief of staff for Senator Alan Dixon, Democrat of Illinois, and head of government relations for Major League Baseball, he built relationships and coalitions. His daughter, Representative Cheri Bustos (D) of Illinois, inherited his loyalty and ability to know little but important things about lots of people.
There are only a few like Jim and Gene. Now, both are gone, on the same day. They made things work better, for more people, for good reasons. We need to have more of their kind, especially in these times.
More about Gene Callahan: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140804/NEWS/140809801