Richard Bruce (R.B.) McCallister was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, on Nov. 8, 1946, to Richard Basil and Mary Louise (Newman) McCallister. He passed away on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.
An accomplished Eagle Scout and recipient of the Boy Scout’s Order of the Arrow commendation, he lived by the Boy Scout principles. His sense of adventure was piqued at an early age when he and two other scouts undertook a long trek down the Ohio River … in a canoe! A harrowing feat on a major waterway. In his teens, a move from McDermott, Ohio, to Satellite Beach, Fla., introduced Bruce to the world of the space coast life and surfing. There, he became a secret document carrier for the space missions. He would fly to various bases around the world, handcuffed to a briefcase, with an entourage of security that would ensure he delivered the documents to the assigned base. His white blond hair led to his nickname, “Whitey.”
In 1969, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Being a sole surviving son, he was kept stateside in Colorado Springs and eventually segued into college, where he earned his doctor’s assistant degree in radiology. A short stint working for a team of traveling doctors led him to realize that his passion was in the arts. He pursued that passion at Adams State College in Colorado, where he taught jewelry smithing and photography. While teaching, he obtained his Master of Fine Arts in ceramics. From his love of ceramics, Clay & Co. was born, an artist’s shop and studio loved by Woodstock, Ill., locals and tourists featuring his functional pottery.
R.B. transitioned to a career in real estate in the 1980s and loved the time he spent with clients finding each their dream home or helping investors find good opportunities. In each of these careers, he touched so many lives and felt so fulfilled in helping others.
In 2010, R.B. suffered a paralyzing illness. He was the ultimate fighter and continued to give everything he had toward his recovery for 10years. In those years he accomplished much and remained fearless to any opportunity that came his way. While his athletic opportunities no longer included upland game hunting, surfing, scuba diving, and volleyball, he was able to water ski and snow ski with the help of organizations like Adaptive Adventures and continued to enjoy fly fishing with the help of dear friends. He also got back in the pottery studio and modified his way of throwing and hand-building pieces to fulfill his creative needs and make his heart happy.
His inspiration will live on in those who had the pleasure of being in his company. As his father taught him, he would ask that you be kind to others no matter their stature in life, and to approach every interaction with the intention of making a new friend.
R.B. is survived by his wife, Kim; a daughter, Shannon (Kevin) Kreeger; a son, Seth (Laura) McCallister; and two grandchildren, Kyle and Katey Kreeger.
In memoriam donations can be made to Independence Health and Therapy (formerly Adult & Child Therapy), an organization that played a tremendous role in helping R.B. remain strong and reclaim some of his mobility over the years.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
For information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 815-338-1710, or visit slmcfh.com.