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Mary Elizabeth (Blair) Callison

November 9, 1935 ~ November 20, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Mary Callison Obituary

Mary Elizabeth Callison (Blair)
November 9, 1935 – November 20, 2023

Age 88, a 25-years resident of Allegheny West, Pittsburgh, PA, passed away on Monday, November 20, 2023, with her loved ones beside her. Mary was born in Parkersburg, WV to the late Dr. Holmes Blair and Dorothy (Armstrong) Blair, RN. Mary grew up with her siblings the late Ralph Blair (JoEllen), Louisa Blair, John Blair and Alice Royce (Blaine).
Her most cherished memories from childhood were visiting her paternal grandparents, “Mom” and “Dad” Blair’s farm and frequent visits to Massachusetts to visit her maternal grandparents, “Grammy” & “Grampy” Armstrong. Mary learned to drive by taking her father on his house calls.  She never had an accident and knew all the ways to get around Pittsburgh, which she loved to explore. Mary graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in 1957, which is where she met her future husband, Reverend Harper T. Callison. They were married in Parkersburg, WV in June 1957 and moved to Evanston, IL where she started working in the medical laboratory at Evanston Hospital while her husband attended Garrett Theological Seminary.  After Harper’s graduation, they moved back to West Virginia when Harper joined the West Virginia United Methodist Conference. As the wife of a pastor, Mary was a skilled multitasker; she was actively involved in the church and communities where they lived, a magnificent  mother as they started their family of four daughters: Melissa Zucker (Dr. Jamie), Amy Teter (Scott), Jane Blake (Dave) and Rachel Callison (Roy Houston) and she continued her career as a medical technologist working in several hospital and outpatient labs and on an early RSV vaccine research project. She retired as a Laboratory Manager for LabCorp, Pittsburgh in 2003.
Mary moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 1994 following the death of her husband, Harper.  Christmas being Mary’s favorite holiday, she went on an Allegheny West Christmas Tour in 1997.  She immediately fell in love with the neighborhood and noticed the Denny Row development proposal. After living in many parsonages throughout her married life, she bought her first home. She became the first resident of Denny Row in August 1998 and of course agreed to be on the Christmas tour that December. She loved participating in the neighborhood's social life where she met many good friends, especially Michael Shealey, who was a loving companion for the past 10 years.
As a true aesthete, Mary was passionate about music, art and literature and was fully immersed in related activities over her lifetime. She was an usher for the Pittsburgh Public Theater, involved in 2 Book Clubs, gardening (both hers and public spaces), the Coffee Klatsch/walking, yoga & exercise groups, bridge, and the Allegheny West Civic Council. Mary was an active member of the Calvary United Methodist Church. She enjoyed singing, making sleeping bags for the homeless and worked tirelessly with other members to preserve and improve the function of the church. Mary delighted in entertaining and was an exceptional cook and baker. There were numerous neighborhood and family events that benefited from her many talents, and she was honored to be the Allegheny West Neighbor of the Year in 2002. Mary never met a body of water she didn’t like - oceans, lakes, rivers, creeks, and fountains - or a cat/dog she didn’t pet.  She was civic-minded and a strong advocate for democracy, social justice, and gender equality. She loved history and keeping up with current events and politics from local to international. She proudly voted in person November 7, 2023. Mary enjoyed meeting new people and having adventures, so traveling was an active pursuit: Austria, China (twice), Croatia, Czech Republic, Cypress, Egypt, England (twice), France (twice), Greece, Japan, Jordan, Hungary, Israel, Italy (twice), Mexico, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, and Turkey.  Trips of note involved going from Beijing, China to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia with a dear friend on the Trans-Siberian Railroad where she rode horses, drank airag and stayed in a yurt; and a beautiful 3-week trip to Tuscany & Umbria with friends, sisters, and her daughters. Her last adventure was a “Three Pines/Louise Penny” pilgrimage in 2019 with her sister to Knowlton & Montreal, Quebec, Canada via Vermont.  
Mary was very proud of her grandchildren and made it a priority to be at all their important life events, which included 3 doctorates, 1 masters, and 5 college graduations. She is survived by Sarah Zucker (Bronwyn Lundberg), Philip Zucker, Rebecca Zucker, Allison Teter Wolf (Chris), Douglas Teter, Rachel Teter Coble (Rockford), Amanda Blake, David Blake (Alicia), and Tori Blake Karnick (Cameron).
Mary is also survived by 3 great-grandchildren Claire, Katherine (Kate), and Conner Wolf. In her honor, please vote, read a book, go to a play or concert, volunteer, take that trip and see the world, hug your loved ones and pet those cats & dogs, enjoy that wonderful cheese, or Scottish salmon (or scallops) from Wholey’s, get the pork chop at Tessaro’s (with potato salad), play a round of bridge, savor that cup of coffee - preferably with the lemon tart from La Gourmandine - and raise a G&T or glass of wine with friends and family at ‘tea time’.
In lieu of flowers, the family ask that you donate to Calvary United Methodist Church or Allegheny West Civic Council.
A Memorial Service will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church, Beech Avenue, Pittsburgh PA on Sunday, December 10, 2023, at 1:30 pm.  

All are invited to attend. The burial will be private. 


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