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Harriett Meier Callison

1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Harriett Meier Callison Obituary
Harriett Meier Callison

Memphis, TN

Harriett Meier Callison, born August 20, 1921, died on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the age of 95. She was the third of four children of Walter Meier and Harriett ("Hattie") Broughton Meier of New Madrid, Missouri. She earned a diploma from the University of Tennessee School of Nursing in Memphis. While working as a young nurse at the John Gaston Hospital she met her husband of nearly 66 years, Dr. Maston K. Callison, then an internal medicine resident. They married in January 1943. Their first daughter, Susan, was born in December, 1944 while Dr. Callison was in New York waiting to be deployed to France during World War II. He returned to Memphis in 1947, and the Callisons had two more children, John and Bettye Jeanne.

Harriett was active in several charitable organizations in Memphis, including Les Passees and LeBonheur Club. She served as president of Les Passees in 1969, when the club's mission was the free-standing center for the treatment of cerebral palsied children. During her tenure, she and her husband, who was then Dean of the University of Tennessee Medical School and avidly pursuing the improvement of the city's medical facilities, were among the team of people who expanded the center's services to adult patients. From then on, teamwork with her husband was a hallmark of her life.

In the mid-1970's, Dr. Callison re-entered full time medical practice following his retirement from the medical school. To cater to his unorthodox office hours (normally lasting into the late evening hours), Harriett became his "night nurse" and an expert at mollifying his patients by notifying them to stay home until they were "next." Eventually, Harriett took over the position full time, trying her best (with a dubious degree of success) to keep her husband on schedule and to find him when he had disappeared into his hospital rounds. They were truly a team, and patients were endeared to her as much as to him. Until their joint retirement in 1996, she was the welcoming, smiling face greeting each patient who came in the door.

Along the way, she and her husband enjoyed traveling with family and friends all over the world. She was the inveterate shopper, and he the didactic historian. In their later years, they were content to limit their travel to visiting their children and grandchildren in Nashville and Atlanta.

In 1999, Dr. Callison had a debilitating stroke, and for almost ten years Harriett took exquisite care of him at home. After his death in December 2008, she was able to resume visiting her family. She loved the sun and especially enjoyed her beach trips with Bettye and her family.

In addition to her husband, Harriett was predeceased by her sister, Sirphenia "Pheeny" Diebold of Cape Girardeau, MO, brothers, Louis Meier of New Madrid, MO, and Edward J. Meier of Memphis. She leaves her children, Susan Callison of Memphis, John C. Callison (Trish) of Nashville, Bettye Jeanne Callison Chorey (Tom) of Atlanta, four grandchildren, Dr. John C. Callison, Jr. (Ashlei) of Knoxville, James Allen Callison (Lindsay) of Nashville, Hunter Callison Chorey (Mika) of Charlottesville, VA, and Christina Leigh Chorey of New York City, and six great-grandchildren, Jake and Reagan Callison, Jack and Luke Callison, and Caroline and Molly Chorey. She also leaves her very special sister-in-law, Olive Meier of Memphis, and her eight devoted nieces and nephews.

Her children wish to remember with gratitude the compassionate caregivers who have given their time, love and attention to their mother during the last eight years, Dorothy Jones and her daughter, Linda Rayford, Evelyn Beam, Deressie Drapes, Rebecca McKinney, and in the last seven months the several caregivers from Comfort Keepers. Also, for their devoted assistance to the needs of their mother and her caregivers, her children wish to thank Leo Baker and Hugh Dunlap, who did whatever was necessary to keep her home beautiful on the outside and well maintained on the inside.

The family will receive friends at visitation from 4 pm until 6:30 pm on Friday, March 17, 2017 at Memorial Park Funeral Home, 5668 Poplar Avenue, Memphis TN 38119. A graveside service is scheduled for Saturday, March 18 at 10:30 am at Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that any remembrances be made to the Caring Ministry Fund of Second Presbyterian Church, of which she was a member, or to another charity benefitting the neediest of us in the Memphis community.
Published in The Commercial Appeal from Mar. 12 to Mar. 16, 2017
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