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Evelyn McCallum, longtime Baltimore schools cafeteria worker, dies

Evelyn McCallum, who prepared and served hundreds of thousands of meals to Baltimore City students in more than three decades as a cafeteria worker at Frederick Douglass High, Forest Park High and Fallstaff Middle schools, died of cardiac arrest at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital on April 26.

She was 98.

Mrs. McCallum dedicated her life to raising, nurturing and educating children — her 12 younger siblings, her two sons and other children in her extended family, as well as the hundreds more in her youth ministries at Concord Baptist Church and at school each day, said her son, Ronald McCallum, 73, of Northwest Baltimore.

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Mrs. McCallum offered them all her warm smile, her son said, and a reminder: “I consider you one of my children.” She worked at Douglass High, her alma mater, for 26 years and spent five years at Forest Park High and Fallstaff Middle before retiring in 1989.

“She loved working with the children,” Mr. McCallum said. “She loved for them to go to school, be educated and be responsible in life.”

The former Evelyn Dargan was born on Oct. 10, 1920, in Timmonsville, S.C., to the Rev. Rufus Dargan, a minister, and the former Mary Ann Daniels, a homemaker. The family moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., for six months in 1923 before settling in the Sandtown neighborhood of West Baltimore, where Mrs. McCallum was raised.

In Baltimore, her father became a plumber at the H.A. Warfield Co. and was named assistant pastor at St. John AME Church on Tessier Street. Mrs. McCallum worshiped at St. John during her childhood and participated in Sunday school, the youth choir and other activities.

She attended Gilmor Elementary, the old No. 107, and graduated from Douglass in 1940.

Mrs. McCallum married her husband of more than 40 years, Theodore M. McCallum, a freight handler, in Baltimore in 1943. The pair joined Concord Baptist Church, then led by the Rev. J.D. Raynor, the following year.

A homemaker at the time, Mrs. McCallum was recruited by the pastor’s wife to help with children’s choirs, vacation Bible school and other youth activities.

She went on to serve as president of the Deaconess Board, troop service director of the Girl Scouts, and president of the Sanctuary Choir, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Christian Education Board, Women’s Bible Class, the Missionary Ministry, Representative Payee Ministry, Retiree Ministry and Senior Ministry.

She had a hand in “every ministry in church,” said a niece, Michelle McCallum of Randallstown.

“She had a tremendous faith in God,” her niece said. “I really didn’t cry at her funeral because she lived her life in service to other people. She always kept that faith in front of us, to lead us and guide us through difficult times. She served in every way she could. What else can you ask of life?”

While Mr. McCallum served in World War II, Mrs. McCallum worked as a nurses’ aide at Maryland General Hospital and in food service at the Oriole Cafeteria on North Avenue. She also volunteered with her mother at the Annie E. Hitchens Provident Aid Society at the old Provident Hospital on Division Street, which later became Union Memorial.

After the war, the McCallums moved to a house on West Saratoga Street in 1950, where the couple raised two sons and lived for more than 25 years.

Allen V. McCallum, 78, a younger brother-in-law who moved into Mrs. McCallum’s home with his brother after the death of their parents, said she “accepted us and treated us as though we were her sons.”

“She was not afraid of responsibility,” he said. “She would give you the kind of guidance that would stay with you the rest of your life.”

The family moved in 1976 to Winner Avenue, near Pimlico Race Course, in Northwest Baltimore. Mr. McCallum died at age 65 of a heart condition 10 years later.

A viewing and funeral were held last week at Concord Baptist Church, and Mrs. McCallum was buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery on Ritchie Highway.

In addition to her son, niece and brother-in-law, Mrs. McCallum is survived by another son, Theodore R. McCallum, of Northeast Baltimore; a brother, John R. Dargan, of West Baltimore; a sister, Shirley Roane, of West Baltimore; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.

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