Mary Rebecca Scanlon "Beckie" McCallie, widow of the late Spencer Jarnagin McCallie, Jr., died on Friday, June 9, 2006, at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Spencer and Sara McCallie in Harrison.
She was born in Clear Lake, Iowa, on May 7, 1913, the daughter of Dr. Franklin Scanlon and Helen Hardesty Scanlon. Known all her life as Beckie by her wide circle of devoted friends, she was educated in early years in the public schools of Chicago and New York City while her father received post–doctoral training in his medical specialty before moving to his permanent practice in Morgantown, West Virginia.
She attended Mary Baldwin College and graduated from the University of West Virginia. She received her M.A. in both French and English from Duke University, where she also met her future husband.
One of her favorite stories featured their first date at Duke. On a depression-era "walking date" Spencer remarked that his father, Spencer Sr., was one of 16 children by the same mother. Beckie laughed. Somewhat offended, Spencer responded that it was true. Beckie responded that she did not doubt him, that her own father was the youngest of 21 children, all by one mother. Spencer later told his roommate, "I don’t dare get mixed up with that woman."
She came as a bride to the McCallie School campus in 1936 and did not leave it until her husband’s retirement in 1974. When her husband became co-headmaster in 1949, she frequently assumed roles now performed by professional staff. She was at times landscaper, gardener, decorator, event planner, hostess, counselor, and essay-grader.
In the early 1940’s, Spencer and Beckie began the Spencer McCallie Sunday School Class at Central Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue. It was to be a young adult class. Spencer taught and Beckie organized. When they retired after 50 years of leading the class, their young adults were grandparents, and Beckie had enjoyed following many families for generations. Members of that class remained her most cherished friends at the time of her death.
She was also in the first group of women to be elected Elder in Central Presbyterian Church.
Beckie enjoyed being a member of the Audubon Society and the Chattanooga Junior League and the Review Club, a book club she attended regularly into her 90’s.
Erroneously thinking that her children might never travel, she and Spencer became part of the founding families of a chapter of the Experiment in International Living in Chattanooga and hosted college age visitors in their home for as long as a year at a time. She also hosted and became a surrogate mother to some international, McCallie boarding students who were not able to return home for holidays, sometimes even for the summer. Recent inquiries about her health have come from adults in Japan and Chile and from beloved Iranian brothers now living in California.
She was preceded in death by her brother, Dr. Franklin Scanlon of Tucson, AZ.
She is survived by her brother-in-law and four sisters-in-law whom she held most dear, David McCallie and his wife Maddin, Queenie McCallie of Chattanooga, Ellen McCallie Cochrane of Winchester, VA and Alice McCallie Pressly of Atlanta, GA; her three sons and their wives, Spencer Jarnagin and Sara Brown McCallie of Chattanooga, Franklin Scanlon and Tresa Brandfast McCallie of Kirkwood, MO, and Marshall Fletcher and Amye Grady McCallie of Brevard, NC, and by her daughter Helen Hardesty McCallie of Gray Summit, MO. She is also survived by grandchildren, Becky McCallie Ray and her husband Rick, Katherine McCallie Gardner and her husband Ellis, all of Chattanooga, Douglas McCallie and his wife Elizabeth of Los Angeles, Ellen McCallie of St. Louis, MO, Rachel McCallie Tatum and her husband Jason of Nashville, Grady McCallie of Raleigh, and Sumner McCallie of Chattanooga, and by adopted granddaughter Reine Bayoc and her husband Cbabi of St. Louis. She leaves nine great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Northside Presbyterian Church with Rev. Joe B. Martin officiating. Interment will be in Forest Hills Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Monday from 4-7 p.m. at the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home and on Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. at the church. Active pallbearers will be Mrs. McCallie’s grandchildren and the honorary pallbearers will be past members of the Spencer McCallie Sunday School Class.
Memorial contributions may be made to McCallie School, 500 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404 or to Northside Presbyterian Church, 923 Mississippi Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37405.
Source: The McCallie School, 500 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404
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