Ronald F. Callaway, first mayor of Orange Beach, dies at 87


Ronald “Ronnie” F. Callaway, first mayor of the City of Orange Beach, died March 9, 2020, at his home in Foley surrounded by his loved ones. He was 87.

Callaway was elected mayor of the newly incorporated City of Orange Beach Sept. 11, 1984, and was sworn in with the newly elected council Oct. 15, 1984. He served two terms until his wife, Margaret, died in 1991.

As the descendant of one of Orange Beach’s first settlers, James C. Callaway, Callaway grew up in Mobile and Baldwin counties and became familiar with the local waterways. He attended high school at UMS and Murphy and later received a General Educational Development diploma.

In 1948, he enlisted in the Alabama National Guard (until 1954) as an artilleryman and was called to active duty with the U.S. Army and served from 1950-1952.

Following his military service, Callaway graduated from the University of Alabama in 1957 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics. He held positions with Lockheed, NASA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 1978 he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and Surveying from the University of South Alabama and started his own firm.

After his service to the City of Orange Beach as mayor, Callaway obtained his realtor’s license and was as active agent for many years. He also enjoyed maintaining his physical fitness, had a keen interest in national and Alabama politics and loved to fly. He worked hard to become a proficient pilot and spent many hours in the simulator and earned a Federal Aviation Administration instructor license.

Callaway was born Sept. 15, 1932, to Rafael and Forrest Callaway of Orange Beach, Ala. He was preceded in death by a son, Jesse, of Ohio and wives, Margaret Wooley, Mary and Anne.

He is survived by a son, Ronald (Pam) of Charlotte, NC and a daughter, Lynn (Ralph Buck) of Foley.

Other family members include step-son, Danny Mcduffie (Melanie) of Foley; step-daughter Lisa Mcduffie Wells of Spanish Fort, AL; cousin Ella H. of Foley; nephew Tim (Barbara), of Cumming, GA; Grandchildren Jay (Melody) of Charlotte, NC, Katie Thompson (Chris) of Pittsburgh, Pa, Scott Denton (Barbara) of Hilden, Germany, James McDowell (Angel) of Saraland, AL, Matthew McDowell (Kayse) of Wilmer, AL, Jessica Cater (Nicholas) of Columbus, OH, Melissa Stacy (Timothy) of Chillicothe, OH; and many great-grandchildren. Callaway tried to stay in close contact with all his family and enjoyed gatherings at his home with several generations.