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Katye Arlene Johnson McCall

July 21, 1924 - December 22, 2010

Mrs. Katye Arlene Johnson McCall died at her home on December 22, 2010. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas, July 21, 1924 to Cora Moody and Fred Eugene Johnson. She was the fifth daughter of a family of 10 children, which included five boys and five girls. Mrs. McCall moved to California in 1942, where she attended San Francisco City College. In 1943, she met and married William McCall, Jr., and resided with him in the Bay Area for several years. Eventually, the McCalls moved from Marin City, California to East Palo Alto, California in August of 1953.

An accomplished seamstress, registered nurse, and music teacher in the early years of her professional life, Mrs. McCall was also a dedicated community worker with a passionate sense of social responsibility. She never wavered in her commitment to work towards improving thequality of life for residents of the communities where she resided. Along with her husband, Mrs. McCall was a member of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union Local 6 in San Francisco. She became an activist who stood against all forms of racism and discrimination, especially in the work place and in the housing industry. Mrs. McCall’s community service endeavours were multifaceted and included an extensive set of activities that benefitted residents of many cities. In 1945, she organized a teen club and basketball team with her husband through the Recreation Department in Marin City. As a founder and Board Member of the East Palo Alto Senior Center, she served as the Information and Referral Specialist (1988-92). Mrs. McCall held other community service positions, including being a founding member of the East Palo Alto/East Menlo Park Girls Club, founding member and President of the East Palo Alto Homeowners Association and, most recently, volunteer knitting instructor for The Barbara A. Mouton Multicultural Wellness Center. She also made exemplary contributions to the wider community by serving in the following roles: Vice President, Secretary, Membership and Voter Registration Chair for the NAACP; Board Member of the League of Women Voters; Vice President of the Mid-Peninsula Task Force for Integrated Education; member of San Mateo County Supervisor’s Committee on Drugs and Teen Pregnancy; Board Member of the Suicide Prevention Task Force of San Mateo County, and founding member, Board Member and Secretary of Mother’s for Equal Education.

Mrs. McCall believed that she made her greatest community service contribution as the first School Community Liaison Worker for Sequoia Union High School District in 1966. In her own words, she believed that it was her task “… to find creative ways to enhance the day-to-day living of those we serve, and to affirm their inherent worth and dignity, while teaching and supporting them in the development of skills necessary to depend on themselves.”

Mrs. McCall was a community mother to East Palo Alto youth and young adults, a grandmother to children, an advocate for families and a loyal friend to many. Known for her exemplary community work with multiethnic, multicultural, economically disadvantaged communities, she received many awards and honors, such as Woman of the Year/Texas Alumni Association (1968), Outstanding Black Person Award/Ravenswood Staff and Student Body (1976), Community Service Award/Friendship Baptist Church (1978), Teacher’s Golden Apple Award/Staff and Student body of Carlmont High School (1986), Outstanding Black Woman of the Year Award/YWCA of Palo Alto (1988), Outstanding Citizen/Delta Gamma Phi Sorority San Francisco Chapter (1988), and many more.

Mrs. McCall was preceded in death by husband, William McCall Jr.; brothers, Fred Johnson Jr., Sammy W. Johnson and Elmer Johnson, and sisters, Evelyn Thomas, Mary Clark and Constance Hill. She leaves to cherish her memories and great legacy one daughter, Bonnie Duplessis; one son-in-law, Curtis Duplessis; two sons, Reverend William Chester McCall, III and Joseph Austin McCall; one sister, Ethel Chester; two brothers, Vernon Johnson and Ernest Johnson; numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. A beloved, respected and appreciated member of the community, she will indeed be greatly missed.

Details regarding the service are listed below. The repast, which will follow the service, will be held from 3:30 p.m to 5 p.m. at the Community Church of East Palo Alto located at 2201 University Ave in East Palo Alto. (650)323-5839

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