World War II vet Sherwin Callander dies at 102

MADISON – No doubt, anyone who had the privilege of meeting 102-year-old Sherwin Callander will never forget him.

Callander’s razor-sharp wit, snazzy clothing and expert storytelling talent always left an impression when he met anyone. Sadly, Callander died on July 25 at Floyd E ‘Tut’ Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville.

Callander’s sense of humor was evident on his business cards, which he frequently distributed to new acquaintances. Instead of a business’ name, his cards had the tagline, “Chick Magnet,” for Callander’s self-described exuberant personality.

Born in Canada in 1920, Callander was three years old when his family moved to the United States. During the Great Depression, he returned to Canada to live with his grandparents when he was 12.

In the 1930s, Callander worked in a Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC camp in California when he was 15 years old. “I made $30 a month — $25 went home,” he said.

His persona was unforgettable, as was the valor of his military service during World War II. In humble tones, he never understood why people were impressed by his time in the U.S. Navy . . . stationed in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japanese forces hit with a surprise attack.

On Dec. 6, Sherwin saw the silhouette of a large aircraft carrier, which he and fellow sailors mistook for the U.S.S. Enterprise. They later realized the vessel was a Japanese carrier, headed to Pearl.

Just before the carnage on Dec. 7, Callander witnessed the Japanese fly overhead while he was returning to port after a repair mission on nearby Midway Island. After the Japanese assault, Callander sailed to Pearl Harbor and its devastation of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

His orders involved recovery of casualties. “We helped with cleanup. Bodies were in the water,” he said. “When you lifted a head out of the water, you didn’t know if a body would be attached.”

In later assignments, he served in invasions of North Africa, Sicily/Southern France and D-Day at Normandy.

In 2009, Callander drove his vintage Volvo station wagon from South Florida to Dublin Village in Madison; he moved to live near relatives.

In June 2014, Callander and fellow World War II veterans visited Normandy. “All of the people (in France) respected us so much. That was an awesome trip,” Callander said.

In 2016, the French Consul presented the French Legion of Honor, the country’s highest military award, to Callander. He also has visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. with Honor Flight.

Callander was an active member of Madison American Legion, Post 229 and Honoring Veterans Legacies, focused on assisting veterans to return to former battle sites.

Callander had become the unofficial spokesperson for Madison with his visits to local events, school assemblies and commemorative war sites around the world.

Among other relatives, Callander is survived by daughter Betty Little of Harvest and granddaughter Elaine Oakes of Madison.

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

“I’m Meant To Be Here”- Dell Pettus Signs With New England Patriots- Former Sparkman Player Goes Pro

Lifestyles

Get those pumpkins planted: Halloween starts in July

Events

CAFY Back to School event to be held Saturday at Calhoun’s Huntsville campus

Bob Jones High School

Teachers support DIAL Scholarship program at UAH

Events

Joe Davis Stadium to host UNA vs. Jax State collegiate soccer match Aug. 18

Huntsville

UAH announces search for a master developer to enhance college-town experience

Events

Huntsville Parks & Recreation to host inaugural Color Jam Family Fun Run & Walk

Madison

Fernandez named Assistant Coordinator of Accountability and Innovative Programs

Madison

ALEA reports 9 traffic deaths, 3 drownings over July Fourth travel period

Madison

Management institute awards scholarship to Michelle Epling

Madison

Sarah Crouch’s debut novel, ‘Middletide,’ sets whodunnit in Puget Sound

Liberty Middle School

White named Secondary Instructional Technology Specialist

Madison

Nominations open for chamber’s Annual Gala Awards

Bob Jones High School

MCCL wishes good luck to 4 graduating seniors

Madison

DIGITAL WELLNESS: UAH researcher studying ways people are detoxing from addictive technology

DIGITAL WELLNESS: UAH researcher studying ways people are detoxing from addictive technology

Madison

Workers and high school students learning new skills at Calhoun Construction Academy

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – July 10, 2024

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Bodybuilding Championships To Showcase Body Perfections

Madison

Arrest made in shooting death of teen in Madison shooting

Madison

Garbage truck slams into Madison house injuring one

Madison

HONORING OUR PATRIOTS

Madison

Historical society accepts Alabama House resolution at picnic

Madison

Madison Station Historical Preservation Society reaches 40th anniversary

Harvest

Audience can chill to Calypso Vision on July 11

x