James E. McCallister of Auburn died peacefully at his daughter's home on Friday, October 25, 2013, at the age of 81. He was born August 23, 1932, in Springfield, Missouri, to Ellis Hampton and Verda Lecky McCallister. He grew up in Marshall County, Kentucky. After graduating from Sharpe High School he went to work for the FBI in Washington, D.C., as a clerk. In 1952 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was placed in the Army Security Agency. Mr. McCallister was stationed in Salzburg, Austria, where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. In 1953 his company basketball team won the camp championship and he was selected for the All-Star team. In 1954, he won the U.S. Forces in Austria Skeet Shooting Championship. He spent five years in the active Army Reserve, where he attained the rank of Master Sergeant. After military service, Mr. McCallister attended Murray State University and then transferred to Auburn University. He graduated in 1959 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He went to work for Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation in Brevard, N.C., in plastic film development. After two and a half years, he moved to U.S. Industrial Chemicals in Tuscola, Illinois, where he was a technical service engineer and traveled all over the United States (and parts of South America). After four years of travel and cold weather he moved to Ampex Corporation in Opelika. He was employed there for 24 years in various positions, primarily as magnetic materials pilot plant manager for 17 years. He was credited by the company for 14 patents. Mr. McCallister enjoyed an active retirement after 1990, when he began nearly 20 years of volunteering at Cary Woods Elementary School as the media center handyman. He also volunteered at Ogletree Elementary School when it was opened. He accompanied the Auburn First Baptist Church Boy Scouts on canoeing and camping trips for 25 years. He also helped for many years in different levels of girls' softball. With the Auburn Allemanders square dancers and the La Grange Shufflers round dancers, among others, he danced for over 30 years. For the last eight years, he volunteered at the Auburn University Forest Ecology Preserve doing trail maintenance work and monitoring bluebird boxes. His hobbies included canoeing, rafting, camping, and whitewater trips in the mountains. He attended the Church of the Sparkling Waters. He is survived by his three children Shawn of Morganton, N.C., Susan (Carmine) Di Biase of Jacksonville, and Stuart (Susan) of Auburn; Stuart's daughter, Gwynneth; a sister, Ruth Ann Hayden of Lexington, Ky.; loving nieces and nephews; and many long-time friends, including special friends Delores Reynolds and Sierra Reynolds Jerkins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Bernice Caddell of Paducah, Ky. Memorial donations may be made to the American Chestnut Foundation (www.acf.org) or
. Online condolences may be sent to the family at: www.klbrownfuneralhome.com. K.L. Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Center 322 Nisbet St., N.W., Jacksonville, AL 36265 256-435-7042
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K.L. Brown Funeral Home and Crematory
322 Nisbet Street NW
Jacksonville, AL 36265
Published in The Anniston Star on Oct. 27, 2013