James Arthur McCallister | 1928 – 2016

James Arthur McCallister | 1928 – 2016


James Arthur McCallister

November 21, 1928 – October 16, 2016

U.S. Veteran

James A. McCallister (Mr. Mac)

Businessman, McCallister’s Grocery

BABSON PARK, FL – James A. McCallister passed away peacefully on October 16, 2016 surrounded by family.  Mr. Mac was born in Jacksonville, FL on November 21, 1928.  The only child of James Alvie and Ruth Chamberlain McCallister, he has been a life-long resident of Babson Park, FL.

Mr. Mac is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Erin Jones McCallister.  Also surviving are his son – William L. McCallister and his girlfriend Helga, daughter – Ruthie Welch and her husband Ken, granddaughter – Michelle Heath and her husband Trey, great-granddaugher – Brianna Heath, nephew – Bud Jones and his wife Pat, niece – Carol Armel and her husband Bernie, and cousin – Art Stafford.

After attending local schools throughout his childhood, Mr. Mac ventured to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida, graduating with a degree in Business Administration in 1951.  Immediately after, he joined the Marine Corp serving during the Korean Conflict from 1952-1954.  Having grown up in his parents’ grocery store (even napping amongst the sugar sacks as a baby) he returned to Babson Park to utilize his degree and strengthen the family business.

Soon after, he met the woman who stole his heart.  Erin and Jim were married on June 10, 1956.  As a team, Jim and Erin turned McCallister’s Grocery into the community information center.  Through the years Mr. Mac developed the center of town offering services including a post office, beauty shop, barber shop, laundromat, gift shop, and ice cream parlor.  To further meet the needs of the community the McCallisters founded Mini-Mac’s Convenience Store and Gas Station.

As an active member of the community Mr. Mac served as President, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, and held every leadership position except secretary in the Kiwanis Club.  Attendance in the club was a priority, earning 61 years of perfect attendance.  He served as president of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce in 1965, won the Kiwanis George F. Hixon Fellow Award in 1998, led Boy Scout Pack 133 as scout master for 14 years, and is a lifetime honorary member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.   Mr. Mac was a director of the American Bank, director and treasurer of Affiliated of Florida, volunteer and assistant fire chief in the Babson Park Fire Department, chairman of many fundraising drives, and member/deacon of the Babson Park Community Church.  In 2012, Mr. Mac was named Kiwanian of the Year.

From an early age, Jim was an avid outdoorsman.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing whenever time allowed.  He also enjoyed working in the garden, growing anything from beautiful flowers to delicious fruits and vegetables.  He was extremely proud of his family, and especially enjoyed watching his great-granddaughter, Brianna, ride horses.

Visitation is being held on Tuesday, October 18th from 6pm-8pm at Marion-Nelson Funeral Home, located at 454 S Buckmoore Rd in Lake Wales.  Funeral services will be held at the same location at 3pm on Wednesday, October 19th, followed by a graveside service at Lake Wales Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in his honor to Good Shepard Hospice or Babson Park Community Church.


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