Captain Larry H. McCallister, 78, passed away quietly in his sleep on June 24, 2018 with family at his side. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 1:00 P.M. at Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas.
Larry was born in Wichita, KS on April 22, 1940 and moved to Kansas City at an early age. He attended the original Shawnee Mission High School, where he excelled in athletics as a three-sport varsity letterman. He received all-state honors in football and basketball, set many school records as captain and quarterback of the football team, and set the Kansas state javelin record. Larry went on to play varsity football at Kansas University, where he received a BS degree in Education and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
After working two years for Searle Laboratories, Larry served 5 years in the US Air Force, achieving the rank of captain as a highly-skilled expert pilot. During the Vietnam War, he completed countless successful rescue missions over enemy lines. On his final mission, his helicopter was shot down. Despite sustaining extensive life-threatening injuries, Larry successfully piloted the helicopter back to safe territory saving the lives of many soldiers, an act of heroism for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Other decorations received throughout his service included two Purple Hearts, approximately 30 Air Medals, Vietnamese Service and Campaign Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Expert Marksmanship Medal.
Following his rehabilitation and honorable discharge from the Air Force, Larry studied toward a master’s degree at Arizona State University before rejoining Searle Laboratories for two more years. He went on to pursue a fulfilling career as a PGA golf professional, high school science teacher and football coach, and most recently a dedicated employee at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) regional offices in Kansas City. Outside work, he enjoyed volunteering as a youth football and baseball coach.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents Dee and Agnes McCallister, and his brother Benjamin (Ben), who cared for him dearly. He is survived by his loving wife Cynthia; sister-in-law Virginia (Ginny); daughters Mandy and Chrissy; nephews Benjamin Jr. (Ben), Scott, John, and Thomas (Tom); and a niece Katherine (Katie).