Vivian Estelle Stark McCallum
May 29, 1925 – February 24, 2019
If you have visited the Frisco Public Library, been to Bicentennial Park, picnicked under one of the many trees at Frisco Commons, or stopped to read one of the many historical markers erected by the Heritage Association of Frisco, then your life has been touched by Vivian Stark McCallum.
Vivian Estelle Stark McCallum, 93, died on February 24. This beloved daughter of Frisco grew up here, met her late husband, William Olin (Bill), and spent the latter half of her life devoted to helping shape Frisco into the “Best Place to Live in America” by volunteering tirelessly to support projects that preserve Frisco’s history, to beautify the city and most of all, to spearhead the original efforts of a handful of citizens to create a public library.
Vivian Estelle Stark was born on May 29, 1925 to Robert Thomas and Sallie Josephine Phillips Stark. She was born at home on the family farm, which was located at the southwest intersection of Highways 720 and 423 in Denton County. One of 12 children, she was the last surviving Stark sibling. She attended the historic Robertson School (near Sparks Elementary School and Pioneer Heritage Middle School) in her early years and graduated from Frisco High School in 1942, the last year Texas children were allowed to graduate with just 11 years of school.
She studied to be a secretary at the Metropolitan Business School and then left Texas on a bus to marry Bill in Las Vegas in 1943. They were married in the Wee Kirk O’ the Heather wedding chapel. Bill was in the Army Air Corps and Vivian spent the first few months of her married life traveling as a World War II military bride from post to post before Bill was sent to the China-Burma-India theater - “The Hump.”
Post-war, Bill studied at Texas A&M and taught agriculture before becoming a sales representative for the Otis Elevator Company in Dallas and eventually working for Otis/United Technologies in New Jersey, New York City and Connecticut, becoming the International Sales Vice President. In 1983, Bill retired, and the couple returned to Frisco. One of their first projects was continuing their work on the historic TJ Campbell House, one of Frisco’s oldest historic homes, the building which now houses Randy’s Steak House on Main Street since 1995. They bought the house and began restoration as early as 1971. After his retirement Bill and Vivian travelled extensively. Sadly, Bill passed away in 1990.
Vivian was an excellent businesswoman, as well as golfer and cross-country ski enthusiast. Her children called her antique store on Frisco’s Main Street, the Museum, where their dad also stored his antique cars. Vivian often said she knew God must have a purpose for her in her widowhood. After returning to her hometown and working with Bill on the home restoration, she became an active community leader. She was a faithful member of Frisco’s First Baptist Church and an energetic leader in the Frisco Garden Club (serving as president twice). An avid reader, she founded the Frisco Book Review Club in 1984. She offered one of her own pieces of property on Main Street to house the first site of the Frisco Public Library – a project that began with books donated from the citizens of Frisco. She also served as treasurer of the Friends of the Library. She worked tirelessly baking pies, helping with fundraisers such as the Friends of the Library Spelling Bee, and selling Friends of the Library historic Frisco holiday ornaments to fund the new library.
She was one of the early members of the Heritage Association of Frisco and chaired the HAF Historic Marker Project for several years. She was dedicated to making sure the farming history of Frisco was remembered, as well as its history as a railroad town. .She served on a committee to select the public art at the Frisco Fire Stations, socialized with bridge, 42, and 84 clubs, and offered her historically preserved home to countless gatherings and meetings for the city and family. She was a gourmet cook, feeding thousands of friends and family members. She became an accomplished painter of still lifes and portraits, studying under Dimitri Vail. An excellent seamstress, she loved gifting quilts to her family.
Vivian McCallum has been honored many times by the community. She was named the 1994 Silver Citizen of the Year by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, a park in the Queen’s Gate neighborhood is named in her honor, and the Frisco City Hall and Library is home to the McCallum Room, frequently used for meetings and public gathering. Her stone portrait frieze can be seen at Fire Station #5. In 2016, she was honored by the Frisco City Council for her dedication and 25-years of service with the Frisco Friends of the Library. Perhaps being name “Great” by her great grandchildren was her highest honor.
These are the public accomplishments of Vivian Stark McCallum. An obituary cannot begin to express what a beloved sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and friend she was to so many people. She always took time to drive friends who were aging to lunch or various meetings around town. She traveled the world, and took her grandchildren to see the great museums, performances and historic sites she loved. She readily embraced newcomers to Frisco because she knew what it was to live far away from home. She delighted in the love of her family. She was thrilled when they celebrated her turning 80 with a bagpipe serenade on the beach at Corpus Christi. Her 85th party featured a group painting of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and her 93rd was celebrated with a family and friend picnic at the Vivian Stark McCallum park.
When new members join the Frisco Garden Club they often ask for advice of locals on what to grow in Frisco. Vivian always suggested the iris, the club’s official flower which flourishes in the soil of Frisco. “Anyone can grow an iris here,” she would say to the most inexperienced of gardeners. She always had iris planted near her front door and the Frisco Garden Club keeps iris planted in beds at the Vivian McCallum Park. The colorful old-fashioned flags will bloom soon – a living memorial to this wonderful woman.
She is survived by her children, Sally Ann Nikolaou of Dallas, Linda McCallum Ness (Tom) of Arlington, Samuel William McCallum of Pioneer Valley, and Vivian Sue Melton (Robert) of Richardson; her grandchildren, Cynthia Ann Mason (Brian), Katherine Lee Frazer (Jason), Jeanine Lynn Krause, Adan Manjarrez, Charles (Chili) Newton Duncan, III, Paul David Krause (Danielle), Chase Invictus McCallum (Kyla), Robert Byron Melton (Bridget), William Bartlett Melton (Andrea), Sarah Alexa Sharp (John), William Riley McCallum (Chris), Rachel Melton Chhabra (Ravi), and April Vivian McCallum; and her eight great-grandchildren – who named her “GREAT’: David Louis Krause, John Clyde (Zane) Sharp, IV, Nathan Alexander Krause, Isaac Liam Mueller-Laupert, Frankie Gemma Sharp, Matthew Thomas Krause, Valentine Stark Melton, and Maile Marybelle Melton (just born Feb. 9). She is predeceased by her husband Bill and one grandson, Charles (Chili) Newton Duncan, III.
Her life will be celebrated at First Baptist Church, Frisco on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00, officiated by Dr. Chuck Martin and Rev. Linda Whiteside of Austin. A reception will follow. The family has designated memorial gifts to: Friends of the Frisco Public Library c/o Frisco Public Library 6101 Frisco Square Blvd #3000 Frisco, TX 75034
- Celebration of Life Saturday, March 2, 2019