Judith Gilson McCalla, 82, of East Lansing, Michigan, died peacefully in her sleep in Oak Park on July 11, 2021. Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she attended Ann Arbor’s University High School her freshman year, where she met her husband, Darold Frank McCalla. She frequently told her family the story of how Darold winked at her on their first meeting, and then invited her to be his date at a high school dance.
Judy spent her sophomore and junior years of high school in Whidbey Island, Seattle, where her father was stationed during the Korean War. She returned to Ann Arbor her senior year and graduated from Ann Arbor High School, then attended the University of Michigan, where she was a proud member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. After being re-introduced to Darold in college, the two were wed in 1959. They celebrated 60 years of marriage together in September 2019. Raising three children on a 40-acre farm in Williamston, Michigan, she was known for her skill in the textile arts and was an accomplished weaver. She organized and led Williamston’s first Camp Fire Girl groups. She loved to read, travel, search for and sell antiques with her husband, and garden.
They owned a cottage on Lake Michigan for many years, where they entertained family and friends. They also lived for several years in Houston, and spent winters in Rockport, Texas. She was a frequent host of social gatherings and loved to play cards, especially bridge. She did not like to lose, even to her grandchildren.
She suffered from serious illness the last 23 years of her life without complaint, preferring to think she did not have cancer; it was just easier to live your life that way.
Judy was preceded in death by Darold in December 2020. She is survived by her daughters, Mary Kay (McCalla) Martire and Julie (McCalla) Siciliano and her son John McCalla, their spouses Ralph Martire, Ricci Siciliano and Kim Sordyl, and seven beloved grandchildren (Nicholas, Olivia, Nathan, Benjamin, Valerie, Jack, and Charlie). She is also survived by her brother, Paul Gilson, and her cousins, Martha (Gilson) Phillips, Kay (Cavanagh) Barnes and Mary (Gilson) Layher. She was preceded in death by her brother, Mark Gilson, and her parents, Dr. Thomas and Marie (Cavanaugh) Gilson.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judy’s name to Planned Parenthood.
A memorial service and luncheon in honor of Judy and Darold will be held by the family on July 31, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Peoples Church in East Lansing, Michigan.