Grandson of Callaway Gardens founders dies on truck-driving trip in Arkansas

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer MCT Direct

September 21, 2013

The grandson of Callaway Gardens founders Virginia and Cason Callaway Sr. has died while on a truck-driving trip to West Memphis, Ark.

Cason Jewell Callaway III passed away in his sleep inside his big rig sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday, his wife, Beth Callaway, said Friday.

“He stopped in West Memphis, Ark., for the night before picking up his next load,” she said. “His driving time ran out, so he had to wait, sleep for the night, and then drive the next morning. But he just never woke up.”

West Memphis, Ark., is just across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn.

Callaway, 60, had been trucking for Tontitown, Ark.-based PAM Transport for about a year. Until recently, he had been a team driver, but his co-driver quit and returned to Atlanta last weekend.

Callaway’s wife said he had no major health problems, other than high blood pressure for which he took medication, she said. But doctors had cleared him to drive.

Beth Callaway also said it wasn’t out of her husband’s nature to do something a little adventurous like drive a truck. He served two decades with the Northwest Harris Volunteer Fire Department in Harris County, she said.

He also worked with South Georgia Canine, which trains dogs for various duties, such as searching for bombs and drugs. Callaway’s specialty was working with cadaver and wilderness dogs, his wife said. He had done that since 1997.

“He actually took one of his cadaver dogs and worked as a civilian contractor with the military in Iraq for four months in 2010 and 2011,” she said.

“He’s just always been one for helping out in the community,” said Beth Callaway. “That’s been his thing, with the fire department and the search dogs and everything like that.”

Callaway is the son of the late Cason Jewell Callaway Jr., one of three children born to the founders of Callaway Gardens, a nature preserve attraction launched in 1952 in the Harris County town of Pine Mountain, just north of Columbus.

Callaway III is the nephew of Howard “Bo” Callaway, who ran the gardens for several years and is a former U.S. senator and defense secretary. He also is the cousin of Edward Callaway, the current chairman and chief executive officer of Callaway Gardens.

Beth Callaway said funeral arrangements have not been finalized for her husband. The couple have been living in Columbus.

Other than his wife of 40 years, Callaway is survived by three children. They are Cason Callaway IV, his wife, Emily, and their children, Marion and Lilly; daughter Carrie Roberts, her husband, Joel, and their children, Collin and Hanna; and son Marshall Callaway, and his partner, Carlos Velasquez.

Survivors also include his mother, Nancy Callaway, and three siblings, Phebe Robertson, Kenneth Callaway and Florence Holmes.