Dr. David McCallie dies at age 92
The blessed, wonderful life of David Park McCallie, MD came to a peaceful end on Monday afternoon, October 7, 2013 from complications of colon cancer. The physician, community leader, husband, father, grandfather, author, and family patriarch was 92.
"Dr. David" was born August 11, 1921 in Chattanooga, the youngest son of Professor Spencer Jarnagin McCallie and his second wife, Katharine Pierce of Williamsport, PA.
His siblings (whose mother Alice Fletcher died in the 1918 influenza epidemic) include Mary M. Ware (Robert), Spencer J. McCallie Jr. (Mary Rebecca Scanlon), Thomas Hooke McCallie (Eleanor Wyatt), Alice M. Pressly (William), and Ellen M. Cochrane (Richard), of Winchester Virginia. All his siblings lived beyond 90, and his sister Ellen Cochrane and sister-in-law Eleanor "Queenie" McCallie both survive him, as do his brother- and sister-in-law Fred and Jane Lupton, and sister-in-law Beth (Mrs. Thomas A.) Lupton.
Dr. McCallie married Bettylou Maddin Lupton of Chattanooga in 1951, a union of two large local families with strong and opposing allegiances in the heated rivalries between McCallie and Baylor Schools, "just like the Hatfields and McCoys." This generated much fun and debate over the 59 years of their marriage, which lasted until Maddin's death in 2010.
Their three surviving children are David Park McCallie, Jr. of Stilwell, Kansas and his partner, Margaret Kolm; Allen Lupton McCallie and wife, Alice Tillett McCallie; and Jack Bass McCallie and wife, Frances Williamson McCallie, all of Chattanooga. Their fourth son, Frederick Maddin McCallie, died in 1986, and daughter-in-law, Nancy Bockbrader McCallie, died in 1996.
Dr. McCallie's grandchildren are Andrew Jarnagin McCallie, Anna Maddin Frances McCallie, Cameron David McCallie, David Tillett McCallie, Katharine Louise McCallie and Emma Frances McCallie. He is also survived by numerous Lupton and McCallie nephews and nieces.
Dr. McCallie received his early education at the Bright School and graduated in 1940 from the McCallie School (co-founded by his father Spencer and Uncle Park ). On the first day of Bible class taught by his father (the Headmaster), the young McCallie was called to the front of the class and summarily paddled by "Professor," just to make the point that no student in his school carried special privileges.
Dr. McCallie graduated from Princeton University (1944) and received his MD from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1947). He served in the US Navy in California before returning to complete postgraduate training at Penn.
Upon the untimely death of Dr. James Bibb, his uncle by marriage and whose medical practice he had intended to join, Dr. McCallie returned to Chattanooga in 1952 to assume Dr. Bibb's practice. Dr. McCallie later was associated in the practice of Internal Medicine with the late Dr. E. White Patton and Dr. J. Ed Strickland, and was joined by his son "Dr. Jack" in 1987.
The McCallie Medical Group further expanded to include Drs. Rick Peters, Dan Drinnon, Kirk Rogers and Glenn Newman, who still care for a number of Dr. McCallie's former patients. The group ultimately became one of the founding practices of Beacon Health Alliance in the 1990s, with the senior Dr. McCallie serving as its initial President and CEO.
Dr. McCallie's involvement in the Chattanooga community was broad, deep, distinguished and unique, especially in regard to the delivery of quality healthcare. He served as Chief of Medical Staff for both Erlanger and Memorial Hospitals, and in 1969, he was President of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society. In that position, he championed the establishment of Erlanger Hospital as a self-supporting entity, responsible for its own strategic directions, in order to cope with the rapidly expanding and changing world of healthcare.
Garnering encouragement and resources from civic-minded supporters and political leaders, Dr. McCallie spearheaded the passage of state legislation and the approval through a county-wide referendum to establish the Chattanooga Hamilton County Hospital Authority in 1976, which later survived a Tennessee Supreme Court challenge. Dr. McCallie volunteered to serve as the Hospital Authority's first Board Chairman from 1976 to 1984, while still running his private practice.
Dr. McCallie also assisted the late Merv Pregulman and members of the Siskin family in their creation of the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, serving as its first Chairman from 1987 to 1992.
The McCallie School held special importance in Dr. McCallie's life. He was born on campus and raised by the Headmaster and the Head Librarian (his mother), and was a seven year student and father of four graduates. He served as school physician for many years, and also spent several terms on the Board of Trustees, two terms as Chairman, and was later elected as Trustee Emeritus. In 1985, he was honored as the school's Distinguished Alumnus, and continued his active interest and involvement in school matters until his death.
In 1978, Dr. and Mrs. McCallie were jointly honored with the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga's Distinguished Citizenship Award, which had previously been bestowed on his father, brother and several uncles. Other honors to Dr. McCallie included the Tennessee Medical Association's Outstanding Physician of the Year (1981) and Tennessee Hospital Association's Distinguished Community Service Award (1976).
The Christian environment of his home and upbringing forever influenced Dr. McCallie and his faith, and through him, many others. For years, he served as Deacon and Elder at First Presbyterian Church Chattanooga, and lived his faith and prayed on a daily basis for his family and his country. In the words of the Westminster Catechism, Dr. McCallie lived to glorify God and enjoy him forever, even to his last days.
Dr. McCallie's influence on his family across many generations was immeasurable, covering the spheres of civic and church engagement, spiritual encouragement, medical care, intellectual curiosity, and an abiding sense of humor in all things. He treasured the blessing of his extended family and regularly gave thanks to God for it.
He and Maddin opened their home on Edgewood Circle for innumerable celebrations of births, deaths, birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations, arrivals, and departures. Each meal started with a prayer of thanksgiving for the many and bountiful blessings received.
At age 90, Dr. McCallie published his book THM, a Memoir, an updated and annotated editing of the memoirs written more than a 100 years earlier by his grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Hooke McCallie, reflecting on his life as a churchman and businessman in Chattanooga from the period before the Civil War through the first decade of the 20th century. Dr. McCallie desired to preserve this record of the past for the benefit of the future, and he gave a signed copy of the book to each of the over 100 living descendants of Reverend McCallie around the world.
Dr. McCallie loved the outdoors, an influence received from his father, who took his young son on early camping outings with McCallie School boarding students. Camping continues as a multigenerational family tradition thanks to the convening for more than 50 years of the "McCallie Men's Camping Trip," which in the last decade has morphed into an "all family" camping weekend involving the descendants of his father Spencer J. McCallie.
Recent gatherings have included over fifty family members aged from 6 months to 94 years, celebrating family, food, and the outdoors - all important points on the compass of Dr. McCallie's life. As chief cook, his contributions included the annual molasses-glazed pork loin, slow roasted over charcoal, George Dickle flavored apple pie (with ample butter), and Dutch-oven-cooked cornbread spiced with Jimmy Dean sausage. Campers rarely were able to return home without loosening a notch on their belts. And at 91, the host still slept in a tent.
Dr. McCallie enjoyed remarkably good health and an active life for almost all of his 92 years. Bicycling was a special passion; he acquired his first ten-speed bicycle early in the 1960s, and eventually graduated to a Litespeed Titanium, riding several days each week until his cancer returned this summer. His favorite local route was through North Chattanooga, out to Moccasin Bend, and often over Stringer's Ridge, but he also enjoyed France, the Natchez Trace, the Outer Banks, New Mexico and dozens of other locations over his years in the saddle. He also loved walking throughout North Chattanooga and hiking in the Nantahala mountains in North Carolina, and even climbed to the top of Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park last autumn, after his 91st birthday.
In an action widely appreciated within the family, Dr. McCallie loved to vocally rouse those gathered around with a trademark expression shouted out when everything was good…be that a hike, a bike ride, a meal, or just a day well-lived and recognized as a gift from his Maker. And so it ends…"WHOOO-pee!"
Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, October 12, with visitation beginning at 2 p.m. and the service at 3 PM.
Honorary pallbearers will include all of the descendants of Thomas Hooke McCallie, the central figure of THM, A Memoir. You know who you are!
Contributions in honor of Dr. McCallie may be made to The McCallie School and First Presbyterian Church.
Dr. McCallie's family will receive friends to help celebrate his life from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday evening, October 11, at the Mountain City Club at 729 Chestnut Street in downtown Chattanooga.
Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421.