Capt. Hasson Calloway, 93: ‘A pilot's pilot' for Eastern Airlines

Capt. Hasson Calloway often told people he never went to work a day in his life.

Flying meant the world to the longtime pilot. Signs of an aviation career appeared at a tender age. Growing up in Tennessee, he would get in trouble for sailing paper planes from the church balcony, said a son, Maxwell Calloway of Atlanta.

“His interest in flying goes way back,” his son said. “It was everything to him.”

Capt. Calloway overcame polio to become a pilot. At 17, he earned his pilot’s license, and five years later joined Eastern Airlines in Miami. He retired from Eastern in 1977.

On Monday, his son said, the captain proclaimed an old pilot’s phrase: “I’m out of runway.”

Capt. Hasson Calloway died Monday at Piedmont Hospital of complications from pneumonia. He was 93. A graveside service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville. H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Capt. Calloway was born in Tazewell, Tenn. He graduated from Boys High in Knoxville and Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina.

During World War II, he flew military air transport in South America. He returned to Eastern Airlines after the war and was based out of Atlanta. He flew for that airline 37 years, a period that included the days when Eastern was owned by Eddie Rickenbacker.

After Eastern, Capt. Calloway served for 13 years as chief pilot for the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He flew into his 90s and logged a total of 35,960 flight hours.

A woodworker, he built two aerobatic airplanes and enjoyed painting aviation portraits. In 1978, he donated a piece of his artwork to the National Museum of Commercial Aviation in Forest Park. It’s a painting of the first commercial transoceanic two-way crossing.

“I would call my dad a pilot’s pilot,” said a daughter, Carolyn Calloway of Atlanta. “He never missed an opportunity to take a trip up, even if it was just to circle the fields or an airport. His life revolved around planes.”

Dr. John David Mullins of Sandy Springs said the captain gave him his first flight in a small aircraft.

“It was exhilarating,” the plastic surgeon said, “and it launched my interest in aviation. He was the consummate pilot and his experience level was a rarity.”

In 1959, Capt. Calloway and three neighbors — Dr. H.B. Stillerman, Tom Holloway and Dr. Gregory Bateman — teamed up to start a private school, Arlington School, now called Arlington Christian School, in Fairburn. The captain served as the first president of the school’s board of directors.

He and Marian Calloway, his wife of 70 years, first met in a church youth group in Knoxville.

Additional survivors besides his wife, son and daughter include another son, Ron Calloway of Roswell; and four grandchildren.