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 CookSallyCook.com. 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.