Mrs. Ivy C Callegan
December 5, 1928 – May 11, 2019
Some people thought Ivy Callegan was difficult. Opinionated. Temperamental. Uncompromising. No nonsense.
But those who knew Ivy also understood that she was generous and loyal, kind and creative, and as her youngest child says, a grizzly bear with a teddy bear’s heart.
The woman who many considered a force to be reckoned with died at age 90 on Saturday, May 11. She was surrounded by her loving family.
No doubt, Ivy wasted no time before she marched through the pearly gates and looked up Ferdie.
“Papaw’s vacation,” their grandson Nate Macke said, “is over.”
She enjoyed a good visit, and her friends can do just that Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. followed by prayer service and rosary at Lakewood Funeral Home. Ivy, a devout Catholic, who with Ferdie helped found Holy Savior Catholic Church in Clinton, will attend her final Mass there at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, with visitation starting at 9 am. Burial to follow at Lakewood Memorial Park.
Sitting in the pews will be her fans, and perhaps a few other people. “You either liked her or you didn’t. There was no in-between,” Ivy's daughter, Michelle Marken, explained. “More people liked her than didn’t. A lot of people didn’t appreciate her honesty.”
Ivy said what she meant and meant what she said. “She would give you the feeling that you weren’t doing it right because you weren’t doing it her way,” Michelle said.
But that was tempered by “her strong sense of fairness and integrity,” said her son Chris Callegan. “She didn’t judge people by anything other than their actions.”
Ivy was a Cajun from Eunice, LA. She met Ferdie, who hailed from White Castle, when she was attending Spencer Business College in Lafayette.
They moved to Mississippi in 1960. “She didn’t know anybody. She didn’t have a car,” Michelle said. As their kids arrived, the oldest separated from the youngest by 14 years, Ivy was up to the task, and had to be: Ferdie’s job took him away from home from Monday morning through Friday evening.
After Chris was born, Ivy had to return to the hospital for surgery just days later. “In the little time she had, she tried to teach her four daughters how to take care of that newborn baby,” said daughter Patricia Glascoe, who took on the main caregiver role for her baby brother until her mother recovered.
“We’d go to Westland Plaza in Jackson to get groceries, and she’d have to take us all with her,” Michelle remembered. “There were times she didn’t know which child she was yelling at. She’d go through the whole list before she got the right one. She’d just say, ‘Hey, you!’
“If she ever got to the point where she stomped her foot and said, ‘Dammit!’ then you’d better leave the vicinity.”
Ivy became a talented seamstress and sewed her children’s clothes for years.
“The sewing machine she has at the house was purchased in 1961 from the Singer dealership in downtown Jackson. We’d sit in the car for an hour while she took lessons, but we were fine with that because that was what she wanted to do,” Michelle said.
Ivy was a stay-at-home mom whose children could always find her in her special corner of the kitchen when they got home from school. And although none of her daughters were cheerleaders, Ivy sewed skirts for the Clinton High squad for several years.
“Those pleated skirts aren’t easy to do,” Michelle said. “The girls would come by after school and get their measurements. They kept coming to her because she got the pleats just right. She was extremely good at it.”
For 30 years, Ivy was a familiar face for shut-ins in the Clinton community as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Clinton Community Christian Corporation and the Hinds County Human Resource Agency, and she used her talents in service to Holy Savior, sewing the priests’ vestments and creating the altar cloths.
Ivy gifted many young mothers with exquisite receiving blankets and burp cloths. “She said the ones you’d purchase at the store weren’t big enough,” Michelle said. “She was thoughtful and would buy four feet by 30 inches of cloth, then cut off a foot and make the burp cloth to match.”
As her children began to leave home, Ivy and Ferdie began plotting their empty nest. The baby of the family enlisted in the Navy, and less than a week after he began sweating it out in boot camp, his parents destroyed his room.
“They knocked down the wall between my bedroom and another bedroom and turned them into a big TV room for themselves,” Chris remembered. “She didn’t even wait until I got out of boot camp. And when I came home from the Navy, Mom and Dad said welcome home, thank you for your service, and we’re leaving for a trip to Ireland tomorrow.”
All told, Ivy and Ferdie amassed 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, and no wonder. “She had six kids!” Michelle said.
“She knew all of the grandkids’ and the great-grandkids’ names and birthdays,” Michelle said. “She mailed out birthday cards. Every year, she bought Christmas ornaments and put their names and the date on them. She always made sure they had something under the tree every year. But, she didn’t cut them any slack.”
After Ferdie died in 1999, Ivy continued her avocations of family, church, sewing, and service. “She loved her flowers,” Patricia remembered. “Lately, her big thing was gardenias. She loved to sit these past few years at her kitchen table in the spring and look out her sliding glass door.”
Ivy was downright thorny if you tried to get between her and her flowers.
“On her back fence, she had wisteria vine that had grown from one end of the fence to the other,” Patricia said. “I would trim up her wisteria bush because it was taking up the corner of her house. She chastised me more than once and told me to leave her flowers alone.”
For all her gruffness, Ivy was very proud of her children. “In growing up, we might not have realized that, but as the years went on, from comments she would make, I finally realized that she did understand me and appreciate me more than I thought she did when I was younger,” Patricia said.
“She said at one point that she didn’t think she’d done bad for herself because she was the daughter of a sharecropper,” Michelle said. “That’s why mom was so uncompromising.”
Ivy was the daughter of the late Cleve and Elta Courville. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Allen Courville and Dennis Courville.
Celebrating her life are her children: Michelle Marken (Pete) of Calera, Ala.; Michael Callegan (Bonnie) of Charleston, S.C.; Patricia Glascoe (Mark) of Flora, Miss.; Cindy Crawford-Whipple (Bret) of Florence, Miss.; Gisele Champlin (John) of Clinton; and Chris Callegan (Libby) of Clinton; and her sister-in-law and Allen’s wife, Rose Courville of Eunice.
Although she didn’t write her own obituary, Ivy knew the value of an old-fashioned death notice. She would scan the daily paper for any familiar faces.
“Not two weeks ago, she was looking at the obits and saw a neighbor’s name,” Patricia said. “She got on the horn and called everybody to make sure they knew.
“If it hadn’t been for Mom, there wouldn’t have been anybody at the funeral home for the service.”
Although Ivy loved her flowers, she was a practical woman and would prefer those who want to honor her to instead make a gift to Holy Savior Catholic Church, P.O. Box 85, Clinton, Miss., 39056, or St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 504 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Gateway Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 3763, Jackson, MS 39207.
Please visit lakewoodfuneralhomes.com for online guestbook.
- She is survived by her children, Michelle Marken (Pete) of Calera, Ala.; Michael Callegan (Bonnie) of Charleston, S.C.; Patricia Glascoe (Mark) of Flora, Miss.; Cindy Crawford-Whipple (Bret) of Florence, Miss.; Gisele Champlin (John) of Clinton; and Chris Callegan (Libby) of Clinton; and her sister-in-law and Allen’s wife, Rose Courville of Eunice. She is also survived by 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
- Visitation Tuesday, May 14, 2019
- Prayer Service and Rosary Tuesday, May 14, 2019
- Visitation Wednesday, May 15, 2019
- Funeral Mass Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Mrs. Ivy C Callegan
May 18, 2019
We appreciate all the commentary on our Mother’s life. We also would like to thank Ruth Cummins for writing this description of our Mom’s life. Thank you Ruth.
Michelle, Mike, Patricia, Cindy, Gisele & Chris
Jay C Cheek
May 14, 2019
The first 8 years of my life I lived directly across the street from the Callegan family. I will always remember Ms Callegan as a stern, but kind woman, (who I knew not to get in trouble with at their house.) I'll never forget when Mr Callegan torched a huge heart in their front yard for their anniversary (25th?). As a kid, I thought"He really must love her to do that to the grass!" I have many memories of early childhood and that home across the street full of love, and a stern, stong hand leading it. May God bless and comfort all of you. Cherish the memories.
Jay C Cheek
May 14, 2019
Say what you will about Ivy, I will always remember her as a kind and caring person. The Ivy I knew loved God, her church and family and her community. She was in involved in many community endeavors, as reads her obituary, and she gave of herself and her time generously. Many times over the 50 years I knew her, she offered me help and concern and sage advice. She was there for you and could be counted when needed.
My sympathy to her family on losing one who loved and cared about them so wholeheartedly.
Cynthia (Payne) Brantley
May 14, 2019
I remember that I would come down to visit y'all and wasn't use to a lot of people in a house growing up and I'd hear your mama raise her voice and it seemed like that was my cue to go home. I also remember after my mama died that I tried to sell burial plots and she knew who I was and gave me a stern talking too about calling her. Lol
You have your wings Mrs. Callegan and you are now with God and Mr. Callegan. You are free.
May 14, 2019
This may seem a little strange but I had to tell you how wonderfully written your Mom's obituary was. I always check to see if I don't know the deceased, maybe I know their family somehow. I didn't know your Mom but now feel as if I do in small part from how well you laid out her most interesting life. What a tribute this was! I'm so sorry for your loss but it seems as if Mrs. Ivy had a great life & some pretty great kids. Condolences & thank you for putting a huge smile on my face!
May 14, 2019
Mrs. Ivy was a great Lady with a heart ❤️ as big as the outdoors. She will be missed by so many people.
Thoughts and prayers 🙏 are with all of the family as they go through this hard time.
All of you know your Mom would not want you to be sad she is looking down at all of you and she is very happy.
Praying 🙏 for all of you.
DeWitt and Tracey DeWeese
May 13, 2019
We send our deepest condolences to the whole family. We know Jeremy and Joeseph and share their loss, and love the obituary, for we now understand where Jeremy got his spunk.
She sounded like a women born before her time but needed much in the time she was born.
DeWitt and Tracey
May 13, 2019
I made Ivy’s glasses for her and she would just keep me amused with her words. Ivy was always pleasant to me and I’m sure she will be missed dearly. I feel sure she is getting things in order in her part of heaven. I loved you Ivy😎
May 13, 2019
So many memories of a woman who treated my brother and me like family, as the Callegans and Karns got together for Clinton High football or visits. The most recent memory was of showing up on her doorstep unannounced a few years ago (Michael, you promised to call her before I stopped by :-)). Despite having to reintroduce myself after so many years away, Mrs. Callegan invited me in for a lovely visit. What a wonderful woman!