Charles Herman McCall

April 10, 2013

Charles Herman McCall Jr. 77, died April 10, 2013 in Bakersfield, California. He was born June 7, 1935 in Clinton County (Indiana) Hospital to Charles H. McCall Sr. and Martha Elizabeth (McDowell) McCall. He grew up in Frankfort, Indiana. He had no brothers and sisters, but had many cousins in the area, including Fannie Kelley, Mark Kelley, Kevin Kelley, Chris Altherr, Mary Martha Altherr, Joe Altherr, Peter Altherr, Mickie Ann Altherr and Sharon Hinkle. His father preceded him in death in 1962 and his mother in 1984. Martha McCall had moved with Charles to Bakersfield, California, and continued to be a supportive parent until her death – including during his time in Washington, D.C. In addition to his family in Indiana and elsewhere, Dr. McCall leaves behind his close friend Dr. Jacquelyn Kegley and her family, to whom he was an “adopted uncle”; his faculty colleagues and staff in the Department of Political Science, especially Gene Clark, Ray and Cheryl Geigle, Pat and K.T. Towell, and his beloved former students. Dr. McCall was a faithful member of the Mill Creek Christian Church (formerly First Christian Church) in Bakersfield.

Dr. McCall was a founding faculty member who joined then-California State College Bakersfield in 1970 as an associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department. He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Indiana University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He taught at Indiana University from 1962-1970. A researcher and specialist in the areas of American government and politics, mass political behavior, political theory and philosophy, and presidential rhetoric, he consulted on survey research for state politicians and was an administrative coordinator for the 1968 Republican National Convention.

In 1976 he served in President Gerald Ford’s administration as Director of the White House Editorial Staff Research Office. He and the research staff were responsible to provide background information for President Ford’s speechwriters on people, places, and issue of concern, and to check the President’s speeches, statements, and White House messaging for accuracy. The Charles H. McCall Files contain 96,700 pages and are located in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum.

In 1978 Dr. McCall was named an E.C. Reid Professor of Political Science at CSB. He continued to teach until his retirement in 2003. He believed students should have a broad education. Some of his best courses related to the humanities and sciences. Among his favorite courses were Politics in the Novel and Film and Political Philosophy and Thought. In addition to his service as faculty member and department chair, he also was a member of the College Council (Academic Senate) and its executive committee. He was Chair of the Council on Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the reknown academic center for survey research at the University of Michigan. He chaired the Western Political Science Association’s Committee of Department Chairpersons and was a Special Representative to the American Political Science Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom.

Dr. McCall was a long-time avid supporter of CSUB athletics and a familiar presence at men’s and women’s basketball games, always wearing the CSUB blue and gold. He was a member of the Roadrunner Club, served on its board of directors, and was its leading fundraiser for eight different years since 1990. He gave generously to the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund for 23 consecutive years, was a member of the Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee, and co-sponsor of the Kegley-McCall Academic Team Award. While admittedly partial to basketball, he was a fan of all of the teams and was first in his seat, along with colleague and close friend, Dr. Jackie Kegley, for the opening game of Division I baseball at the dedication of Hardt Field.

Dr. McCall’s colleagues also knew him as a magician. He developed an interest in magic as a teenager and this passion grew throughout his life. He performed primarily for children, including those undergoing medical treatment. Although an amateur, he was a member of several professional organizations, including: the Society of American Magicians, Bakersfield Assembly No. 69 (34 years) and an “Order of Merlin” member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (27 years). He was the advisor to the local Magic Club and introduced many interested people to the profession and to his friend, magician Lance Burton. He also was a science fiction aficionado, read Tolkien and collected hobbit memorabilia, enjoyed opera, and traveled extensively for the last seven years with Dr. Jackie Kegley.

Visitation and Services

Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Goodwin Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. until time of service at the funeral home. Burial will be in Green Lawn Cemetery. The University President honored Dr. McCall by having the CSUB flag flown at half-staff on the days immediately following his death. A memorial service at the University is planned for early May, and a scholarship will be established in his name. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation the Charles McCall Scholarship.


21 Condolences for “Charles Herman McCall”

  1. Richard N. Pollett April 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Charles was a good friend in high school. Sorry to hear of his demise.

  2. Jacquelyn Ann Kegley, Bakersfield April 16, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Charles was a wonderful friend and traveling companion and adopted uncle of our family. We all will miss him very much. Dr. Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley, Stephen and Marina Kegley and sons Stephen Charles and William, and Jacquelyn Kegley Wright and Winston Wright and three daughters, Cassandra, Kaitlyn and Lillianna.

  3. Michael Russo April 17, 2013 at 12:54 am

    I met Dr. McCall 30 years ago next month at an event welcoming incoming CSB freshmen. He gave an amazing “mini-lecture” and I was hooked! Although a business major, I received my minor in Poly Sci … taking every class from him (I teased him that I “minored in McCall”). Over the years he became a trusted adviser and a personal friend. When I opened the local bookstore shortly after graduation he became (and remained) one of our best customers. To that end, my staff and family also mourn his passing. I loved talking books and sports and politics and life with him. I valued his weekly visits to the store, loved attending CSUB basketball games with him, treasured conversations in his home over coffee, fondly remember his treating my kids, wife and me to the Magic Castle, etc. … and now a big void…

  4. DeDrie Sauter April 17, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I had the blessed opportunity to earn my political science BA at CSUB under Dr McCall’s guidance. He was patient with me and tolerant of me and my whims at that phase in life. He had no problem giving me a bad grade then telling me to quit be lazy and earn a better grade. Then when I would do well, I would get the quiet approving half smile. He was my dearest professor and I am grateful for having crossed his path. My condolences.

  5. Bob & Mae Norman April 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Charles was a childhood friend of Bob’s and we enjoyed keeping in touch with him. We appreciated his postcards from exciting foreign adventures and surprised him by traveling to Bakersfield for his wonderful retirement party. It’s sad for us to learn of his passing. We will miss his cheerful cards, he never forgot an anniversary or birthday! Our sympathy to Jackie and his cousins. We plan to attend his services on Sat.

  6. Frank Thurston April 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Charles was a HUGE champion of Magic as a historian, collector and even fellow performer. He absolutely LOVED Magic! Charles was one of the very first members that I met when I joined the Bakersfield Magic Circle in 1983. He was my sponsor and signed my applications to the Society of American Magicians, the International Brotherhood of Magicians and even the Hollywood Magic Castle! In no way could I count the endless hours & hours of talks that we had about Magic’s past present & future! I had a tremendous amount of respect for him and had the honor for 30 years to call him my friend.
    I will truly miss you Charles…..the Magic world has lost another great man.

  7. Marilyn Morrison Osterhoff April 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    In high school I was asked by Charles to be his assistant along with my classmate, Jane Ferguson, for his magic show act in our high school talent show. We enjoyed assisting Charles and each year the tricks got more complicated from merely holding the scarves that he pulled from his sleeve to Jane stepping into a box while Charles and I watched and then me appearing from it. Pure magic! I lost track of Charles over the years and was saddened to learn of his passing. My husband, Jim Osterhoff, also a classmate, send our condolences to Jackie and Charles’ cousins.

  8. Willliam Lipp April 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Charles exemplified a commitment to the well being of others…family, students and colleagues. A gifted man Charles was a good steward of both his gifts and shared them as needed in every venue of his life. He remained connected to his Clinton County heritage and will long be remembered by those who survive him. May God bring comfort to those he loved and all who loved him and will miss him deeply.

  9. Fred and Judy Petty April 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Charles was the best chemistry lab partner anyone could ever have. He was a good friend and a great classmate.
    Rest in peace”Magicman.”

  10. Andrew Baird April 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Dr. McCall was the first professor I encountered when I was an ex-Marine going to college. He opened a window into a new and exciting world for me and the very varied group of students in a special class for “instant sophomores”. We were challenged in many ways (define your terms!) and always captivated by his wit , humanity and brilliance. In his many classes and Friday after school get-togethers I was lucky enough to be involved in, I found his many experiences made for a fascinating and rewarding college education. When I went into the profession that Professor McCall often called “being a robot” I hoped he was not disappointed in me (the law and I am a prosecutor). Today I still have on my desk and within reach one of his strongest recommended books, “Popular Government in America”.
    Even after forty years I am saddened that I will never have the chance to have another always interesting conversation with him. When I first heard the news of his death, I had such a heart felt sigh, that even my white blue eyed cat “Gerald” heard it.

  11. Carolyn Holland Jones April 19, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I remember Charles and his magical presentations. Frankfort In must be proud to have played a role in the education of Charles. His accomplishments during his career are outstanding, not forgetting to mention the lives he touched!

  12. Jackie Engle April 19, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Charles was my husband George’s roommate at IU, our best man, god father of our son Nathan, and beloved Uncle Charlie of all three boys. He and Martha spent many Christmases with us when he was teaching at IU. I will never forget the year he brought the boys air pistols which shot a puff of air. Charles, George, and my brother spent all morning lighting the advent candles and shooting them out while the boys looked on in envy. The world will miss his wit, his intelligence, and his joy of life. My sympathy to his family and all his friends in Bakersfield.

  13. Dan and Laura Moon April 19, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Both Dan and I are very saddened to learn of Dr. McCall’s passing. He was an excellent educator who inspired his classes, and we were lucky to be his students. I can still recite and explain the seven resources of power and the funnel of causality! Thank you, Charles McCall.

  14. Bob Smith, Mill Creek Christian Church (DOC) April 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    The members of Mill Creek Christian Church in Bakersfield mourn the passing of Charles. He was a long and faithful member of our congregation and his infectious smile and good humor will be missed. We lift up the family in our prayers at this time of their loss. May God give them comfort and bless them in the days ahead.

  15. Jim Clossin April 20, 2013 at 12:16 am

    In the mid-forties, Charles lived on the corner of Columbia and Walnut Streets, about a block from Goodwin Funeral Home. I lived the first house west on Wabash. We played together a lot and I spent several overnights at his house. Herman and Martha were very nice to me and I will always have a lot of fond memories of those days. I have a few pictures that were taken in his back yard. Jim Clossin

  16. Joyce flotence April 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Dr. McCall was the first Political Science professor I had and the reason I became a Poli Sci major. He told a story better than any teacher I have ever had. He brought politics to life. We didn’t agree on much, but I always respected him. He made learning fun and interesting. I will miss him!

  17. Gary & Cheryl Bradshaw, Alison, Paul & Natalie April 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    A friend is best defined as someone who understands your past, believes in your future and accepts you for who you are today. I didn’t write these words, but they framed Charles.   It has been too many years since my college days, but I can still remember feeling privileged to be in his classes.  I remember how it made me feel to debate the questions and philosophies of government and the intellect behind his eyes. He had a way of reaching into the core of your developing beliefs and challenging your assumptions, but always with respect and encouragement. Charles was not only a mentor, but a close friend who saw the best in people and their great potential . “Lux et veritas” (“light and truth”)  He loved the romance and intrigue of politics and was a fine practitioner. Charles longed for the Grand Old Party of his youth, which represented the middle instead of today’s extremes.  I even think he liked Bill Clinton,Charles might have said: “He would have made a good Republican”. He loved art, music, travel and magic, but most of all he loved his family of colleagues and friends and I can truthfully say we all loved Charles.  He believed God forgave all in His perfect love and grace and that Fortune Favors the Brave, and Charles was the bravest, a youthful, joyful, guiding light we will all miss.

  18. Art Medrano April 21, 2013 at 12:40 am

    When I discovered Thursday reading the paper that Dr. Charles McCall had died, a cloud of sorrow hit me and immediately, my mind flashed all the memories it could retain of Charles and brought them to my forefront. The Magic Charles had was that he could make you smile, think, and care for something or someone and make you enjoy the experience of his being with you. I didn’t know him a very long time and I wasn’t what some people would call close to him but every time I would see Charles whether it was at a game, fundraiser or just on the street, he had the ability to talk and treat me as if he had known me all his life. That’s what made me call him a “Friend” I will miss. My prayers go out to the family and to everyone like me that knew and will miss him.

  19. Todd Robertson April 21, 2013 at 2:22 am

    From an advisor as a student to a mentor to a great friend until the end. His life is an example of how to live, how to treat people and how to commit to become the best in the world at you profession I was recently a guest March 19 at his home. Very sad, yet very proud to have been friends with Dr McCall.

    • Nelson Banes May 16, 2013 at 2:17 am

      I will miss you my friend. I am a better person because of you.

  20. Christine Culbertson April 25, 2013 at 3:17 am

    How sad I was to hear the news of Dr. McCalls passing. I was in his media and politics class and loved every minute of it. He was a generous and wonderful teacher and I loved his stories of his time in Washington DC. How proud I am to have been one of his students.

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