Professor Tom McCall, pictured with his guitar, loved classical music. Photo courtesy of Terry McCall.
Associate Literature and Humanities Professor Tom McCall died suddenly Jan. 25 after returning from a mountain trip to Nepal during winter break. Co-workers and friends remember him as a man with a passion for life and all that it offered.
“Dr. McCall was one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever known well,” said Gretchen Mieszkowski, retired literature and women’s studies professor.
McCall was known by those who worked with him and those who were close to have a thirst for knowledge and an appetite to explore, which caused him to stand out in an exemplary way. He brought his passion for life into the UHCL community.
“He had as wide-ranging an intellect as any faculty member in HSH since John Snyder,” said Bruce Palmer, retired dean of HSH. “Both he and Dr. Snyder had extraordinarily wide ranges of interests and knowledge, which stretched from literature and literary theory to history, political science and philosophy.”
During his tenure at UHCL, McCall advised students, chaired theses committees and sponsored the UHCL chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.
“People say that no one member of an organization is irreplaceable,” said Deborah Griffin, humanities and fine arts department chair. “From my vantage point as Tom McCall’s division chair, I beg to differ.”
Called “Tom Tom” by his sister Terry McCall, his only sibling, he was born in Colorado where his love for the mountains began.
At the age of nine he, along with his family, moved to California where he finished high school. Later in his life, he welcomed nephew Aaron into his family.
McCall had an array of interests ranging from literature to foreign languages to music.
“He loved classical music and played the guitar seriously enough to have studied with masters,” Mieszkowski said.
Mieszkowski remembers one particular evening when she, along with her husband, accompanied McCall to the opera. During the performance she glanced over and noticed his eyes were closed.
“I was irritated; here we had taken him to the opera and he had gone to sleep,” Mieszkowski said. “But not at all; he was listening with his eyes closed because he could follow the development of the music better that way.”
As of publication for The Signal, a memorial is being planned, but no specific date has yet to be set. Contact the School of Human Sciences and Humanities dean’s office for more information on the memorial.
“Tom has UHCL faculty, and all the students who have sent out such wonderful notes and condolences that have helped so much,” said Terry McCall. “If only Tom knew how many tears have flowed since his passing and the sadness/loss so many feel. What is amazing to me is I know Tom honestly would have had no idea how loved and respected he was by so many. He would be shocked, speechless by the outpouring. He was so humble and, of course, brilliant, witty and a wonderful teacher.”