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January 27, 2006

McCallister honored for his support of MSD, education

From: Fulton Sun, MO, USA - Jan 27, 2006

The Fulton Sun

“A true friend is one who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”

State Board of Education President Peter Herschend quoted this well-known saying about friendship at a special dedication ceremony in honor of the late Rev. Raymond McCallister at the Missouri School for the Deaf on Thursday.

“Raymond McCallister, you touched our heart,” he said.

Herschend was one of several state officials gathered to pay tribute to McCallister - who passed away on Sept. 6 - as MSD, the Missouri State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education renamed MSD's Stark Elementary School library the Raymond F. McCallister Jr. Library.

The Stark library was chosen because of McCallister's efforts on behalf of MSD to secure funding for the school's expansion while serving on the State Board of Education.

“I will long remember Ray's pride and joy at the times he took us through this school - before and after this building was here,” Herschend said. “He loved this campus and loved what this campus was about.”

Herschend said McCallister's work for education still is an influence on the state's educational policy-makers.

“(McCallister) was on the state board of education when I got there, and he never has really left,” he said. “His influence drives us forward always to do the right thing.”

DESE Commissioner Kent King also was on hand Thursday to pay tribute to McCallister.

“He and I had the opportunity to work together for the benefit of Missouri's kids,” King said. “Much of the credit for what's happening here goes back to Ray's interest in the school - he truly cared about the kids.”

Elementary School Supervisor Mary Ann Herring expressed her gratitude for McCallister's contributions to MSD as well.

“(McCallister) took care of MSD. He recognized the need and acted on it to get this building,” Herring said. “He worked diligently to make sure we had what we needed.

“Now we honor him and the things he stood for: education and learning.”

Although he could not be present for the dedication, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) sang McCallister's praises long-distance in a video.

“Ray was a great spirit and had a good sense of humor. There's not a life in Fulton he did not touch,” Bond said. “We all miss him very much, and he's still in our hearts.”

McCallister's family - his wife Marilee, daughter Lynn and son Brian - attended Thursday's ceremony.

Marilee McCallister presented the library with a copy of “The Little Engine That Could” on behalf of friends Patsy and Paul Craghead.

“They asked what Raymond's favorite book was,” she said. “This is one our children always enjoyed, and we hope you will enjoy it too.”

McCallister thanked MSD, the State Board of Education and DESE for honoring her husband.

“What a great honor it is to have a library named after you,” McCallister said. “I know Raymond is up there dancing a jig at this very moment, just delighted that you decided to do this for him.”

Copyright © 2006 The Fulton Sun. All rights reserved.