Rodney Arlin Callaway

May 12, 1931 ~ September 12, 2021 (age 90)


Rodney Arlin Callaway, born 12 May 1931 in Salisbury, North Carolina, son of the late Elvin Luther Callaway and Ethel Howard Callaway died September 12, 2021.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years the former Julia Cohen. Three daughters: Sandra Surratt, Kim Crawford and husband Tim of Salisbury, North Carolina, and Susan Clegg and husband Richard of Townsville, North Carolina. Grandsons, Jonathan Preslar and wife Michelle of Lexington, Missouri and Brandon Crawford. Great grandsons Alex Crawford, Nathan Crawford, Dean Crawford, Noah Caraway, and Benjamin Preslar.

He was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Jeff Surratt.

A member of the First United Church of Christ for over 60 years. He has served on the church council, has been a member of the choir, and member and past president of Prime Time Club, and served as a Sunday school teacher. He served as a member of the property committee for many years and is a past chairman.

He was a veteran of the Army National Guard for over two years, a staff sergeant in the Air Force during the Korean police action and has 16 years total in the regular Air Force and the active Air Force reserve. Over 18 years total military service. He was one of the first 12, and the, only members of the Air Force to be trained to maintain the GAR 1 Falcon missile at Hughes Aircraft Company for the first 2 years of the missile's service. This was the first air to air guided missile that the Air Force put into service. He performed the operation and suitability test on the bird at Eglin Air Force Base. He worked on the Falcon, and was one of the first 12 and this was always a source of pride with him.

He was a past president and is a life member of the Spencer Jaycees. He served as a regional vice president of the North Carolina Jaycees and as an administrative national director of the United States Jaycees. He was a winner of the Charles Hutchins award as the outstanding local president in the state while serving the Spencer club. He was selected as the Jaycee International Senate.

He was a master plumber, working in the plumbing and heating trade for over 60 years holding both state plumbing and heating license. Most of those years was with Cohen Plumbing and Heating. Many years he served as manager. He retired from WA Brown where he was foreman of the R and D section for many years. The last several years he has worked for Jim's Plumbing on a part-time basis.

He was a past president and served 25 years on the Board of Directors of the Salisbury - Rowan Merchants Association. As a member of that board he was several times awarded the Outstanding Directors award. He also served many years as chairman of the property committee. He was a leader in establishing the scholarship program which they still award today.

He worked on the Holiday Caravan parade for 46 years, many of which he was on the board. He served as president several terms, and was treasurer for 20 years.

He was a founding member and volunteer firefighter and medical responder with the Locke Volunteer Fire Department. He served many years on the Locke board directors, and served three terms as chairman of the board. He was once chosen as the Outstanding Firefighter of the year by the Rowan County Fireman's Association.

He was a high school football official with 22 years of on the field experience. Officiating over 20 playoff games and three state championship games. He has served as a supervisor of high school football officials for 28 years, for a total of 50 years of service to the young people that played the game of football in North Carolina. He served two three-year terms on the North State Officials Association board of directors. In 1993 he was chosen the outstanding official in North Carolina by the National Federation of High School Football Officials, the governing body of officials in the United States. He has been selected as outstanding clinic leader on two occasions. In 2011 he was given the Dick Knox Distinguished Service Award by the North Carolina Athletic Officials Association.

Visitation: 1:30-3:30 PM Sunday, September 19, 2021 on the lawn of First United Church of Christ, 207 W Horah St, Salisbury, NC 28144.

Service: 3:30 PM Sunday, September 19, 2021 on the lawn of First United Church of Christ with the Rev. Carol Hallman officiating. Full Military Honors will be provided by the Lyerly Volunteer Joint Services Honor Guard. Inurnment will be at 9:00 AM Monday, September 20, 2021 at Salisbury National Cemetery, 501 Statesville Blvd., Salisbury, NC 28144.


Lyerly Funeral Home is serving the Callaway family. Online condolences may be made at

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September 19, 2021

1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
First United Church of Christ
207 W. Horah Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

Funeral Service
September 19, 2021

3:30 PM
First United Church of Christ
207 W. Horah Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

September 20, 2021

9:00 AM
Salisbury National Cemetery
501 Statesville Blvd.
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

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