Tom Bené, president of Breakthru Beverage, has released a statement in memory of Ed Callison:
Dear Breakthru Colleagues,
It is with great sadness I share with you that Ed Callison, a longtime member of the Breakthru family, passed away early Monday after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones including his wife Allyson. We send them our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Ed was a third-generation wholesale owner and a well-respected industry leader who let relationships guide his work. After his family’s company, Callison Wholesale Liquor, joined Wirtz Beverage in 1993, Ed was integral to the founding of Breakthru and became a much-loved and truly transformational leader in our organization. With a smile on his face and a sure, steady hand, Ed oversaw much of our business development, M&A and innovation activities, ensuring continued growth for the company.
Ed was the kind of person who left a mark on everyone he met. He led with kindness, generosity and passion that inspired the same in others.
“I have been lucky to work with Ed for more than 30 years, and he truly was one of the best friends and colleagues I have ever known,” said Rocky Wirtz. “Our Breakthru family is what it is due in part to Ed’s influence on our culture, and he will be deeply missed.”
“Ed was a wonderful man and an unbelievable asset to Breakthru,” agreed Charlie Merinoff. “He was all about relationships—he didn’t just remember your name and your spouse’s name, but he cared to ask about your family, too. His character will be the marker of his legacy. I am proud to have known him.”
Ed’s generosity of spirit extended far beyond Breakthru, having been active on the Board of Directors, and as Finance Committee chair of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, working to ensure the continued success of the wholesaler tier. Ed also gave back to his alma mater as an active member of the Washington University alumni committee.
Above all else, Ed will be remembered for the way he treated others. With a smile that lit up every room he entered; he had a way of making everyone feel like a friend. Today is a sad day, but his memory will bring us all so much joy. Ed will always be a part of the Breakthru family.
Ed is survived by his wife, his children Hamilton, Anne and Cary and many grandchildren. Details are pending, but a memorial service will take place in his hometown of Belleville where he was a well-known and loved community leader and native son.