FORT MILL -- Generations of Fort Mill students and educators lost a friend and mentor in Harold McRae "Mac" McCallum, who was remembered at funeral services Monday.
McCallum, who died Wednesday at 88, was a teacher and principal with the Fort Mill school district for 28 years and was active in the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce.
He had been a resident of Park Point Village in Rock Hill for the last eight years. He and his wife, Phoebe, touched generations of Fort Mill students.
"As his son's friend, I was over at his house a lot growing up," said Fort Mill school district Assistant Superintendent Chuck Epps. "He was just like another father to me."
A young Epps watched Neil Armstrong put the first set of human footprints on the moon in McCallum's living room. Later, McCallum gave Epps his first teaching job.
"I was late the first day," Epps recalled of his first job. "He looked at me and said, 'We can't have this,' and I said, 'Yes, sir.' I haven't been late many times since then."
Long before the advent of career clusters at Fort Mill High School, McCallum was teaching courses in agriculture, preparing students to enter the area's largely agrarian and textile-based economy.
During his career, McCallum served as president of the York County Education Association, president of the S.C. Agriculture Teachers Association, president of the S.C. Vocational Teachers Association and as a Parliamentarian and a member of the board of the S.C. Education Association.
"I think Mac helped a lot of kids that weren't going to college through his agriculture course," Epps said. "He turned a lot of people around and got them going in the right direction."
A native of Camden, McCallum served a stint in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He graduated in 1940 from Berry College in Rome, Ga., and received a master's degree from the University of South Carolina in 1952.
'Everybody liked him'
At one time, he was one of the most active members of the community, serving as president of the Fort Mill Optimist Club and Optimist of the Year, president of the Rock Hill Toastmasters Club and secretary of the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce for 10 years.
He was named Fort Mill Teacher of the Year and Fort Mill Man of the Year and served as general chairman of the Fort Mill Centennial Celebration.
He also was a lay leader and Sunday school teacher at St. John's United Methodist Church in Fort Mill, where a memorial service was held Monday.
He was a 50-year member of the American Legion, was honored as Fort Mill Area Chamber of Commerce Civic Volunteer of the Year and named a Paul Harris Fellow of the Fort Mill Rotary Club.
One of McCallum's good friends and contemporaries, Bill Stroup, remembers the early days of the Fort Mill chamber and United Way, both of which they had a hand in creating.
"Everybody liked him," Stroup said. "There's a lot of people that know a lot about Mac because he was involved in everything."
The Stroups and McCallums got to be good friends over the half-century they knew each other, eating out together weekly and even traveling together.
"He was a great person to travel with," Stroup said. "He always had a joke and made people laugh."
McCallum's influence will live on in the lives of those he touched, and through two $500 scholarships awarded to Fort Mill students heading to college in technical fields each year. A former student, working with the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools, created the McCallum Scholarship Fund in his honor.