Doraville police volunteer, GOP mainstay dies after medical incident

Gene Callaway

Credit: 9th District GOP of Georgia

Credit: 9th District GOP of Georgia

Gene Callaway

A former state representative who volunteered with Doraville police for more than a decade unexpectedly died last week after suffering a medical incident.

Gene Callaway, 55, was a longtime presence within Georgia Republican politics, from representing Gwinnett County’s District 81 from 1998 to 2002 to serving as the party’s sergeant in arms.

In June, he was in Jekyll Island for the Georgia GOP convention, but weeks later, he suffered a medical episode, was found unresponsive and was briefly placed into a coma, his family said. Callaway died last Wednesday morning. No further information on his cause of death was provided.

BJ Van Gundy, the first vice chairman of the state Republican party, said he spent the weekend in Jekyll Island living with Callaway. He called his longtime friend “the best roomie a guy could have on a road trip.”

“Everybody in the Republican party all know him from all over the state,” Van Gundy said. “His loss has been devastating to a lot in the state of Georgia.”

We in the 7th District are morning the sudden loss of our friend and Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Gene Callaway. We pray for...

Posted by Georgia Republican Party 7th Congressional District on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer said Callaway served in the General Assembly and as the volunteer sergeant at arms at nearly a dozen state Republican conventions. He added that, “Gene had a big heart and enjoyed nothing more than serving others.”

Callaway, a father of two who ran a jewelry store in Tucker, also volunteered as a reserve police officer and the public information officer for Doraville police since 2008, according to police Chief Charles D. Atkinson. He received no pay during his years as a volunteer.

“Callaway not only helped the police department as an officer, but he was a friend to many outside of the department assisting them with whatever issue they had,” Atkinson said. “I ask everyone to continue to pray for his family as they work through his tragic and untimely death.”

The chief added that Callaway helped organize multiple relief trips to hurricane-ravaged cities during his time in Doraville. Joe Wilson, one of Callaway’s friends, said he remembers Callaway’s effort in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston, Texas.

“He raised money and took a trailer full of supplies down there and did some work volunteering,” Wilson said. “He was always about the community and was always looking to help anybody he could that was less fortunate than him.”

Gene Callaway (left in both pictures) and Joe Wilson

Credit: Joe Wilson

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Credit: Joe Wilson

Callaway was a member of Cross Pointe Church near Duluth, and his funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon. Bruce LeVell, another one of Callaway’s friends, said he would often work traffic duty on Sundays at the church, helping whenever he could.

“He was one of the most humble friends I’ve ever had,” LeVell said.