Many have claimed “I Love Lucy,” but the words have special meaning this week for the family of Lucille Marie Zahm Callaway. Lucy made a peaceful exit from the world Oct. 25 with her devoted husband Bill — wearing his “I Love Lucy” Ball cap — by her side.
Lucy was born in Beatrice, Neb., on Oct. 3, 1926, the first child of Andrew and Agnes Quinowski Zahm. Soon to follow were Delores (Sis), retired U.S. Army Col. Ronald (Bud), Roseanne, Patricia and Bernadette.
Lucy graduated in 1943 from Spalding Academy (Neb.).
She was married to a skinny young man, William R. (Bill) Callaway, on Nov. 8, 1947, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Beatrice. The wedding was by officiated Msgr. F. D. Mock, who was 20 minutes late for the ceremony. The couple celebrated with a reception at the Zahm home and then left for a three-day honeymoon in Omaha, Neb., with $36 in their pockets.
The Callaways moved to Arkansas City in 1951, when Bill worked as traveling salesman for two years for a manufacturing company. Lucy stayed at home with four children younger than five years old, no car and few amenities.
The couple moved to El Dorado on March 15, 1953, for Bill to work as a manager at Oliver Hardware Store.
When she was in high school, Lucy placed in the top five three times in a worldwide competition against professionals for her accomplished shorthand skills. Her abilities led to a 21-year career with Kaneb Pipe Line Company in El Dorado, where she started working as an executive secretary when less than one-third of U.S. women worked outside the home.
Luckily, Lucy’s mother Agnes and sisters Patricia and Benny came to live with the couple for a number of years and helped them raise the four children, all of whom eventually graduated from El Dorado High School.
When Kaneb moved its headquarters to Wichita, Lucy carpooled back and forth, often working 12-hour days and still caring for her family. In 1974, Lucy took a new position as secretary in the rectory at St. John’s Catholic Church in El Dorado.
St. John’s was a big part of Lucy’s life. She attended daily mass most days from 1974 until she was unable to do so.
But Lucy’s life was not without a social element. She enjoyed bowling and golfing, and one day in August 1994 when she was 67, she achieved a 141-yard hole in one at the Salina Country Club Couples Invitational. She was a longtime member of bridge clubs, Freya Study Club and the St. John’s Altar Society.
Those who love Lucy learned many lessons from her example, including: say the rosary every day, say our daily prayers, hold our tongues, and smile and pretend not to understand to avoid unpleasant subjects. Husband Bill said he does not have a single memory of Lucy complaining about any of her own burdens during her entire lifetime.
Page 2 of 2 - Funeral services for Lucy will take place Wednesday at St. John’s Catholic Church, with a rosary at 10:30 a.m. and the service following at 11 a.m. The family is requesting memorials to St. John’s Catholic Church or the Bill & Lucy Callaway Scholarship at Butler Community College.
Lucy is survived by Bill; her four children, Michael (wife Marsha, child Evan), David (wife Jennifer, children Kristin and Kelsey), Steve (partner Joe Parrish) and Rebecca; all five of her siblings; four great-granddaughters, Ruby, Zoe, Violet and Nora; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
They all love Lucy.
Kirby-Morris Funeral Home is helping with arrangements. Share online condolences at www.kirbymorrisfuneralhome.com.