Former Alabama congressman HL ‘Sonny’ Callahan has died
Former longtime Alabama congressman HL “Sonny” Callahan died Friday morning. He was 88 years old.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made the announcement of Callahan’s death in a statement Friday morning.
“It is with sincere sadness that I share the passing of longtime Congressman HL ‘Sonny’ Callahan of Mobile. Congressman Callahan passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. Without a doubt, Sonny’s service in Alabama and America was second to none. He was one of Southern Alabama’s most beloved public servants, and his legacy of helping others stands out as one of his many wonderful qualities.
“Our state and our nation have lost a giant. My thoughts and prayers extend to family, friends and longtime Sonny employees, ”said Ivey. “I offer my sincere condolences and prayers to his family, friends and longtime employees.”
She also ordered that the flags be immediately half-masted on the grounds of the Alabama State Capitol complex in Montgomery and the former District of Callahan in southern Alabama. The flags will be at half mast until his burial, which will be announced at a later date.
Representative Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, has released a statement regarding Callahan’s death.
“My heart is heavy this morning as I learn of the passing of Congressman Sonny Callahan,” Carl said. “Sonny was a true statesman and I’m grateful that I called him a friend and a mentor. Over the past few years, Sonny has spent countless hours preparing me for the job he has held for almost 20 years, and I will never forget the wisdom he passed on to me. Although he is no longer with us, his legacy of tireless service to our state and nation will continue for years to come. My prayers are with all of Sonny’s friends and family during this difficult time. “
Callahan was elected in 1984 and re-elected to eight successive congresses before retiring in January 2003. Prior to his service to Congress, he was a member of the Alabama State House of Representatives from 1971 to 1979 and has been a member of the state of Alabama. Senate 1979-1983. He was also a US Navy veteran, businessman and active member of his community, according to Ivey’s statement.
Like almost every Alabama politician of his day, the Mobile native took office as a Democrat. But after losing an offer for Lieutenant Governor in 1982, he moved on to the GOP when he ran for Congress successfully in 1984. Then he watched a long parade of politicians, from US Senator Richard Shelby to judges. local and county commissioners follow suit.
Updated at 1:15 p.m. June 25, 2021 to correct that Callahan passed away early Friday.