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Obit – Mr. A.B. McCall

Perhaps the most astute businessman to ever own a Carthage business has died at the age of 94.

Mr. A. B. McCall was pronounced deceased at his Jackson Avenue home at 1:07 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon September 13, 2023 by HighPoint Hospice who had been lovingly assisting the family with his care. His family was at his bedside.

Funeral services were conducted from First Baptist Church in Carthage on Saturday afternoon September 16th at 3 p.m. His pastor Bro. Tim Frank officiated and Menda, her husband Howard, A.J., Derek Decker, Tom Grant and Jack McCall delivered eulogies. The musical presence was by the family’s longtime friend, Terri Lynn Weaver. Burial followed by his wife, Virginia, in the Garden of Gethsemane at the Smith County Memorial Gardens.

Full military graveside honors were provided by the Veteran’s Honor Guard of Cookeville and military honors at the church were provided by American Legion Post # 57 of Carthage.

Born Albert Burr McCall Sr. on July 10, 1929 in South Carthage to David ‘Thomas (D.T.) McCall who died at the age of 85 in 1985 and Amy Barnett Manning McCall who died at the age of 77 in 1980. 

One of nine children, he spent summers helping in the general store that his grandparents, Albert and lcie McCall, founded in 1896 in the Flat Rock, Community.  

Six of his eight siblings preceded him in death, Mary Nell McCall Hight who died August 7, 2022 at the age of 91, Frank Thomas McCall who died June 15, 2003 at the age of 81, Ray Barnett McCall Sr. who died February 2, 2008 at the age of 83, David Manning (Dave) McCall who died April 27, 2008 at the age of 70, Lois McCall McDonald who died September 14, 2009 at the age of 82 and Mildred McCall Hix who died January 16, 2013 at the age of 80.

Mr. McCall was a member of the 1947 graduating class at Smith County High School where he played football all four years, majored in agriculture and his senior year the chapter won the State Chapter contest and was one of sixteen chapters in the Nation to receive a bronze emblem for their outstanding chapter activities. While at S.C.H.S. he was in the Beta Club, the English, Science Declamation, Latin, “C” club. He was F.F.A. secretary his sophomore year, F.F.A. vice-president the senior year and was a member of the junior play cast and played on the F.F.A. basketball team his senior year.

Following high school graduation he attended Tennessee Technological University in 1947 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1950. He earned a Master’s degree in Animal Nutrition from the University of Missouri in 1951.  

From 1951 to 1952 he taught agriculture at Winterset High School in Winterset, Iowa.  

From 1952-54 Albert served as a Second Lieutenant and forward observer in the Korean War.  He was combat wounded in an explosion from an enemy round and discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant.

After military service he went back to Iowa and taught agriculture to World War Two veterans at Boone High School.  He then went to work on a P.H.D. at Iowa State University, while holding down 5 different jobs.

One day Albert was driving down the street in Boone, Iowa and stopped at a traffic light and saw Virginia Doran stopped at a light in her car.  He asked his friend, Stan Moffet, who she was.  They then drove to her house where Stan introduced them, Virginia was 18 and home on a break during college. She was attending William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri on an academic scholarship. They were married 9 months later and spent the summer in Europe on their honeymoon, where they visited 17 countries.

They moved back to Carthage, TN where Albert bought into his father’s furniture and appliance business in 1955 and remained active until his retirement in 2006. 

Virginia attended Tennessee Technological University and had the highest grades in the Home Economics and Agriculture department her senior year. She graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics.

With an enduring love for each other, he and Virginia traveled the world, met with both President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and the entire McCall family and the community and her friends were saddened by the death of Virginia on December 10, 2022 at the age of 86. 

Albert’s father, D.T. McCall started as a salesman for the general store and began the business using a horse and buggy to go house to house, buying and selling produce and other goods throughout Smith County. He brought the first electrical appliances to Carthage and showcased them at a local bank. In the late 1930’s he bought a corner lot on the town square and opened a furniture and appliance store.

In 1958, Albert learned that a local cheese company was changing its manufacturing process. Seventeen hundred dairy farmers would need all new industrial type milk coolers to continue to supply the company with milk.  Further research showed that North Carolina had just outlawed the exact type of cooler that the Tennessee manufacturer required.  After several trips East, Albert bought one thousand coolers and had them shipped by truck to Tennessee. On the way back they stopped in South Carolina to fill the coolers with peaches to sell back in Carthage.

The next year he found out that five hundred commercial size electric ranges were available from a company in Akron, Ohio.   They were Korean war surplus. That particular part of Ohio primarily used natural gas for heating and cooling. TVA provided electricity for Middle Tennessee. Albert bought the ranges for a great price and passed the savings along to various schools in the state.

When oil prices fell in 1984, large inventories of household furnishings that were originally intended for condos in Saudi Arabia, were sitting in a warehouse in Houston. The orders were cancelled and everything was up for auction.  Albert went to Houston and bought it all and moved thirty-seven truck loads in seven days. Once again he passed along the savings to his customers and made a good profit too.

One year he would sell almost five hundred window air conditioners to the Metro Nashville Housing Authority because of a heat wave and he was the only dealer in Tennessee that had that many in stock.

For twenty years Albert advertised on the “‘Ralph ‘Emery Show” on Channel Four. Between Five and Six A.M. the show commanded an eighty percent market share. Albert made quite an impression on the morning audience. His five commercials were so popular that Channel Four used them to promote the Emery show.  Business boomed and Albert became a popular TV personality in Channel Four’s Middle Tennessee/Southern Kentucky/Northern Alabama viewing audience. At that time “The Ralph Emery Show” had the highest lead in audience to “The Today Show” in the whole country. 

D.T. McCall & Sons is in the top fifty independently owned furniture dealers in the nation, and in terms of sales floor square footage and warehouse square footage is the largest furniture and appliance store in the United States, according to Home Furnishings Daily. The same magazine also named D.T. McCall & Sons number one in the United States in profit per dollars’ worth of sales.

Albert was a contributor to Republican politics because he believed in preserving the freedoms we have as Americans and encouraging the personal responsibility and potential of individuals.

Albert and Virginia have 2 children, Menda Holmes and Albert Burr McCall II. 

Menda is an Advertising Agent and her husband, Howard Holmes of Lebanon, a mechanical engineer. Menda, has two children. Monica Virginia Arms, a dental assistant of Mount Juliet, Derek McCall Decker of Nashville a financial advisor with Wilson County Bank & Trust.

Albert Jr. is a partner and President at D.T. McCall & Sons, living in Lebanon He has two children. Houston Alexander (Alex) McCall of Carthage, and Katherine Elizabeth (Kate) McCall of Lebanon, both of whom work at D.T. McCall & sons, and A.J.’s two granddaughters, Ava Rae McCall and Ella Jane McCall.  

Also surviving is a sister, Ruth Jean McCall Garrett and husband Gary, John E. McCall and wife Kay all of the Tanglewood Community; sisters-in-law, Rebecca Hackett McCall of South Carthage, Helen Mundy McCall of Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Mr. McCall was a member of First Baptist Church in Carthage and enjoyed traveling.

The McCall family has requested memorials to either First Baptist Church Carthage or the Tunnels to Towers Foundation.


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