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James L. McCallister was born February 15, 1929 in Wattalula, Arkansas to Ona and Icey McCallister as the seventh of nine children. He moved with his family to Portterville, California where he graduated from high school in 1948. He joined the US Air Force and was stationed in Topeka, Kansas where he met the love of his life, Jean (Matz) McCallister. They were married April 4, 1952 and had four children: JoAnn, Marilyn, Allen, and Jim.

After graduating from Kansas State University in 1958 with a degree in civil engineering, James worked for the Missouri State Highway Commission until 1965 when he moved with his family to Des Moines, Iowa. There he began working for USDA Farmers Home Administration and retired in 1989. He became an active member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, taking a leadership role in that organization.

James was a member of Crestwood Baptist Church, serving as Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, and Sunday School teacher. He loved nature being outdoors camping and served on the Board of Directors of Cutty’s Campground. James and Jean served others through their participation in Iowa Southern Baptist Campers on Mission.

They shared many other activities together including both square / round dance clubs, and enjoyed their time as volunteers at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. James loved to solve any kind of problem and was creative in repurposing items. He especially loved children, always taking time to joke with them. He was a man of strong faith in God and lived out that faith daily.

James passed away unexpectedly on Thursday April 12, 2018, at Valley View Village in Des Moines, Iowa at the age of 89.

James was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Jean; parents; and siblings, John, Doyle, HD, Raymond, Melba, Cecil, and Seldon.

Those left to cherish his memory are his children, JoAnn Dean (Stephen) of Grimes, IA, Marilyn McCallister (friend Kathy Peterson) of Newton, IA, Allen McCallister (Carol) of Des Moines, IA, and James McCallister, Jr. of Shelton, WA; sister, Maxine Metcalf of Valencia, CA; his sister’s-in-law; 14 grandchildren; 13 great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and other loving family members.

Visitation will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., followed by funeral service at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 19, 2018, at Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens, 121 NW 60th Avenue, Des Moines. Burial will take place at Highland Memory Gardens after service.

Memorial contributions can be directed to the family.

Service Details

Visitation:
Thursday, April 19, 2018
12:00 - 2:00 pm
Hamilton's near Highland Memory Gardens
121 NW 60th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Service:
Thursday, April 19, 2018
2:00 pm
Hamilton's near Highland Memory Gardens
121 NW 60th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Disposition:
Burial
Highland Memory Gardens Cemetery
Des Moines, Iowa
Arrangements:
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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