Longtime Taft resident Janis McCall passes away
Longtime Taft resident Janis Fay McCall passed away Jan. 7 in a Bakersfield assisted living home from respiratory failure. She was 76.
She was born Dec. 13, 1946 in Hanford CA and raised in Avenal before the family moved to Taft in 1960 when her father was transferred by the Standard Oil Company. The family lived in company-provided housing on North Tenth Street and at Elk Hills.
She was a 1964 honor graduate of Taft Union High School where she served as editor of the campus newspaper (The Gusher) for two years. It was in that role that she met her future husband, Dennis, who was a reporter for the Daily Midway Driller. The student paper was printed in the newspaper’s press room and he would leave her “Dearest Jan” notes when he spotted errors on page proofs.
They began dating and after graduating she attended Fresno State University for a year before they married. She accompanied him to Fresno when he decided to earn a baccalaureate degree. She did her part by working in the campus library while he attended school and worked for a major newswire service.
Graduation brought them back to Taft when Dennis accepted the editorship of the Midway Driller. Janis worked as a teller and then manager of branch operations at Bank of America for 18 years before retiring early when the bank closed its downtown branch.
Mrs. McCall then worked at the Chamber of Commerce, where she specialized in working with production companies doing movies and commercials in the Taft area. She also worked for the hospital district as personnel director at the nursing home and served as secretary of the board of directors until Mercy Hospital bought both facilities and promptly closed and bulldozed them.
Her favorite pastimes were attending Taft College sporting events (the couple had season tickets to USC and UCLA football games and attended many Rose Bowl games) and hiking in the High Sierras.
An avid reader, Mrs. McCall enjoyed helping her husband in his job as a reporter and editor and later when he became a professor at Taft College. She set up and maintained an electronic grade book for his classes during his days as an educator and learned court transcription so she could take notes at meetings during his newspaper days.
Mrs. McCall was predeceased by her parents, Dwight and Fay Thomas and a brother, Richard D. Thomas. Survivors include her husband of 58 years, Dennis, brother Dave (Donna) Thomas of Maricopa, brother-in-law Jim McCall of Taft and sister-in-law Bonnie Crabb and husband Don of Bakersfield,niece Melany and nephew Dave, foster daughters Dawn Riggs and Elisha Herrera, granddaughter Alissa Riggs and her special foreign exchange “daughter” Silvia Rueda of Colombia.
At her request there will be no services. Cremation was through The Neptune Society. Those who wish may make a donation to a local charity in her name.
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