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June 19, 2019

7/21/2011 7:30:00 AM
William 'Smokey' Callahan

William 'Smokey' Callahan passed away peacefully July 3, 2011. He was born in Coffeyville, Kan., on March 9, 1917. After graduating high school he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he served as a flight instructor. During World War II, Smokey served first in the Royal Air Force and then with the U.S. Army Air Corps. After his honorable discharge he began a 31-year career as a captain with American Airlines. He made many public appearances and appeared in several commercials on behalf of American Airlines, for which he received their Distinguished Service Award.

Smokey married Betty Rolain in 1946, and they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. He retired from the airline in 1977, and moved to Destin, Fla., where he was very active in the Snowbirds Club, acting as president in 1990. Golf, bridge and sailing were hobbies that Smokey enjoyed. He and Betty also enjoyed traveling to many countries during their retirement.

Smokey is survived by his wife, Betty; and his children, Pat Graham (Jack), Sandy Hollar, Cathy Rierson (Jerry) Michael Callahan, and Kerry Harvey, (Wendell). He has seven grandchildren, Jack Graham (Jana), Jen Mertins (Chris), Alissa Wondolkowski (Mark), Christopher Rierson, Jon Harvey, Scott Harvey (Amber) and Kate Harvey. He is also survived by seven great grandchildren; and many brothers-in-law, whom he loved dearly.

There was a memorial service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Fort Walton Beach on Friday, July 8, 2011, at 11 a.m. There will also be a memorial service at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Rhinelander on July 30, 2011, at 10 a.m. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted on line at

Related Links:
• McLaughlin Mortuary

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Article comment by: harve weltman

So sorry to read of smokeys passing my best to Betty
I was a young man of 9 or 10 living with my parents 4537 drexel blvd in chicago the same building wher Smokey rented an apartment as did Betty They were wonderful to my folks and myself my dad was away a lot working on the atomic bomb in Tennessee But Snokey spent time with me keeping me off the streets with basketball etc im now 86 with cancer treatment but still remember how wonderful they both were my best to Betty along with my sympathies with the loss of a great man
best to the family harve weltman

by the way i believe because of their help i graduated from univ of illinois ans the sighned with St Louis Cardinals

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