Today my favorite farmer and I are in Florida celebrating the life of a wonderful man. I like to laugh that when God created Hank McCall, he threw away the mold. My grandfather lived for 91 years of greatness, and spent 70 of those years being married to his soul mate.
I was blessed to grow up down the street from my beloved Grannie and Dedaw, and spent countless hours with them during my formative years. Their single minded devotion to each other serves as a constant inspiration to me as Matt and I travel our own life journey together.
The following is the beautiful obituary that my Uncle Wally wrote in my grandfather’s honor.
Hank McCall, 91, of West Palm Beach, FL died peacefully at home on October 3, 2013. He and Irma celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 23, 2013. Hank graduated from Penn State University in 1942 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He soon entered the United States Naval Academy as a “90 Day Wonder”, receiving his commission in May 1943. After submarine training, he was assigned to the USS Greenling in the Pacific where he participated in five war patrols and two special missions including the reconnaissance and photographing of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in preparation for the US invasion of those islands. He retired from the Naval Reserves with a rank of Lt. Commander. Hank and Irma moved to West Palm Beach in 1952 with their three small children. After a brief stint with Crane Company, he became partners with Clarence Coston, a plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractor. Their projects included the Palm Beach Towers, Pratt-Whitney Aircraft, and the Kennedy Space Center. He also obtained his private pilot’s license to expand the business to the Bahamas, and for convenient bone fishing trips. After twenty years, Hank made a major career change, becoming an agent with National Life of Vermont and later, Sun Life of America. He was a Certified Life Underwriter and a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. Hank and Irma were active members of the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach where he served as the head usher and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He was a charter member of Mayacoo Lakes Country Club and enjoyed the camaraderie of the Old Guard Society and the stimulating programs at the Society of the Four Arts. Besides his family, Hank’s passions were reading, birding, and walking. Hank and Irma traveled extensively, setting foot on all seven continents. After warm-up hikes across the state of Florida and around Lake Okeechobee, Hank and Irma walked across England in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. He was preceded in death by his son, Willie. Hank is survived by his beloved wife, Irma; a daughter, Sally Gibson (Herbert) of West Palm Beach; son, Wally McCall (Michelle) of Jupiter, FL; grandchildren, Terry Gibson (fiancee Theresa Sepko) of Jensen Beach, FL, Anne G. Burkholder (Matt) of Cozad, NE, Travis McCall (Laura) of Lynchburg, TN, Kelly Hough (Jeremy) of Old Town, VA, Abigail McCall of Hobe Sound, FL, Hunter McCall (Sean) of Charlotte, NC, and Margaret McCall of Seattle, WA; and seven great grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at the Royal Poinciana Chapel, 60 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach, FL 33480 with Dr. Robert S. Norris, Pastor officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Samuel M. Lindsey Fund at the Royal Poinciana Chapel.
My grandfather demonstrated with his life that “With faith, discipline, and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve”. Muhammad Ali