In Memoriam


Sarah Margaret Haines Calligan, known to all as Sally, passed away unexpectedly January 14, 2017 in Palm Coast, Florida.  She was 78.  Sally had recently undergone heart surgery in December but was triumphant in her recovery and died of natural causes, at peace and in her sleep.

Born in Columbus, Ohio on October 14, 1938, Sally was the oldest of Lowell and Susie Haines’ four children (siblings:  Tim, Susan, and Tom).  Sally moved to Palo Alto, California during World War Two where she and her family lived in the chauffeur’s lodge of the Lathrop estate on the Stanford University campus.  Her father was in the merchant marines and narrowly survived the war.  WWII  had a profound influence on her family and made her ever the patriot. As a child, Sally liked to read and play with dolls; her favorite book was Little Women; all her dolls were named Jane.

Sally graduated in 1960 from the University of California at Los Angeles with a B.S. in Apparel Merchandising.  A member of the Chi Omega sorority, Sally met her husband Michael at a Sigma Pi fraternity party.  She did not think much of him until two years later – by then he had grown on her.  They married shortly after graduation at the Lutheran Church in Los Altos and enjoyed 56.5 years of marriage.  The key to their success?  Putting up with each other’s bullsh*t and taking their vows seriously. They were each other’s best friend.  Michael recognized early on that Sally’s creative impulse was essential to her health and well-being.

After Michael graduated from law school at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964, the young couple moved to Humboldt County, California where their three daughters – Mary-Katherine, Margaret, and Meredith – were born.  In addition to raising her daughters (some better than others – just kidding – wanted to see if you were reading), Sally mastered many arts, chief among them cooking.  Much ahead of her time, Sally shopped, cooked, and ate clean.   It should be noted that prior to her surgery, Sally’s carotid and other arteries were in excellent shape. It was a chief disappointment of hers that at least one daughter did not like seafood and cruciferous vegetables.  Sally was also an accomplished painter, writer, knitter, gardener, encourager, photographer, entrepreneur, seamstress, quilter, and grandmother.

In her later years, Sally embraced the art of blogging, posting under the byline of “The Radish” to her blog which she recently converted to the website  While no grammarian, and an even worse speller, Sally was computer literate.  She spent the last day of her life on the phone with Epson (?) trying to fix her printer so she could continue with many of her online projects.  She left behind a beautiful scrapbook diary of photographs and quips that will be cherished for generations, a treasure trove.  For Sally always paid attention, to the daily, minor miracles, as well as the jaw-dropping, shout Hallelujiah ones, of which her family was blessed many times over.

Sally also had a unique way of speaking.  Perhaps a form of dyslexia, Sally’s family understood Sallyspeak as did most of her friends.  Sometimes Sally would hang up the phone without saying goodbye – friends and family knew not to be offended – but she never forgot to say “I love you”.

A lifelong Christian, Sally enjoyed attending church, primarily Episcopalian churches as an adult.  She engaged in many spiritual practices, ranging from bible studies, Cursillo, to meditating on a Word for the Year.  Her word for 2017 was REJOICE, from her favorite scripture Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made; rejoice and be glad in it!”

Sally is survived by her beloved husband of 56 years, Michael Calligan of Palm Coast, Florida.  She is also survived by their three children Mary-Katherine (m. John “Randy”), Margaret (m. William “Bill”) and Meredith (m. Duncan) as well as her grandchildren Katherine, William, Calligan, Mary-Jane, Gabriel, George, and Theodore.

A Requiem Mass was held for Sally on January 20, 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Augustine, Florida.  Her favorite hymns were sung and there was “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, for Sally felt that death was a solemn occasion and was to be a respected transition. Her funeral was just the way she wanted it.

Other gatherings honoring Sally’s life will be held in both California and Washington in August of this year.  Donations in her honor may be sent to the Dining With Dignity fund of Trinity Episcopal Church (215 St. George St., St. Augustine, Florida 32084), a program which feeds the homeless.

Sally was famous for leaving her own parties early, often quoting Martha Washington: “The General always retires at nine, and I usually precede him.”   Rather than throw her guests out, however, Sally would retire to her bed, leaving the bedroom door open,  listening to the “rah hah ing” of friends and family.

Although once again Sally has left her own party early, today she can be found in Jesus’ kitchen, serving up a feast. Even on Ash Wednesday. Sally was secure in the knowledge she was beloved and had lived a life worthy of many blessings, her eternal heart filled with utter peace, praise, and thanksgiving. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.  She’s still listening in.



Filed under Life

24 responses to “In Memoriam

  1. Janet Daly


  2. moodringmama

    Fabulous, Sister! She would have approved and been bemused.

  3. MrsNATO

    Amazing! I can truly hear you speak every single word. XOXO

  4. A beautiful portrait; I hope the writing of it has brought you comfort.

  5. Kirk Cohune

    Thanks MK. That reflected the Sally I knew well and miss. I’ll look forward to seeing you all this summer to reminisce…love Kirk

  6. Sue Hopper

    A beautiful tribute and memorial to a woman of God. She is missed.

  7. Jill Heflin

    I will so miss this talented and lovely lady–to know her was to love her Jill 602


    Mary Katherine, This was such a thoughtful, beautifully written piece. I’m so sorry for your unexpected loss. I did not know your mom so I especially appreciate your sharing. Your family is blessed to have had such a strong example in so many ways! She sounds like quite a remarkable lady! Funny how our minds work, I still think of you and your beautiful, big smile from when we were back in high school. I’m sure it hasn’t changed much! Sending prayers of comfort and a big ol long distance hug your way!❤️

    Kristin Sent from my iPad


  9. Bette Anne Smith

    Amazing what a little patience will turn up! Thanks MK, I know her now. Really know her quite a bit. This is a great piece. XOXO BA

    • Dearest BA,
      You did it!!!! So glad you got to meet Sally in Columbus. She loved meeting you and Frank and was glad you were there for me as you are for so many others. XOXO

  10. Flaky Friend

    Sally was awesome and this, this was a perfect was to honor her. XOXO
    Flaky Friend

  11. Winnie

    Every day I wish my friend had stayed longer at the party. I’m fervently hoping that the door to wherever she is has been left open so that she can hear us missing her. I will hang up now without saying goodbye because I can’t. But I will not forget to say I love her and hers every day and to remember how fortunate I am to have known her. Thank you, Mary-Katherine, for your wonderful portrait of an amazing woman.

    • Oh, Winnie. Thanks for your beautiful words. I am pretty sure Sally is listening in. She loved you!!!! When I think of the Great Ocala Hurricane Adventure it makes me laugh so hard inside – a God Wink of massive proportions.

  12. Had to read this one again, Other Mother. Would you please finally get a publisher?

  13. raftbuddy

    Late to this Sally party and so happy that you are posting again. I will catch up on all of them in one fell swoop today. It was such a beautiful tribute to your mom, funny and dear- and I know she would be so tickled and touched by your masterful words that strike just the right chord.

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