The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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June McCallister Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna and Chris Petersen.

July 3, 2014


June McCallister was the matriarch of a five-generation OSU family. Her Oregon State lineage traced all the way back to William Asa Finley, the first president of Corvallis College (the initial forebear of OSU) from 1865-1872.

William A. Finley was a son of James Washington Finley and Margaret Campbell Finley, pioneers who traveled west on a wagon train with their seven children in 1852. The Finleys' youngest child, brother of William A. Finley, was Hugh McNary Finley. Hugh M. Finley graduated from Corvallis College in 1871, a member of the school's second graduating class. He helped to create the Alumni Association, serving as its first president. He also was husband to Emma Cauthorn, whose family had traveled west in 1865. Hugh and Emma were parents to four children: Ross, Edna, Ada and Percy.

Ada Finley, a 1903 Oregon Agricultural College graduate, married Mark Dow McCallister, himself an alumnus from the OAC class of 1905. The couple had three children together, Doris, Alan and Marjorie, all of whom graduated from Oregon State College. Alan was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated in 1942 with a degree in agriculture. One year before his graduation, Alan married June Geil, who had graduated from OSC in 1940.

Anita June Geil, born 1919 in Albany, Oregon, grew up in Corvallis and attended Roosevelt School and Corvallis High School. In her senior year at CHS she met Alan McCallister, who was also a student at the high school, newly arrived from Salem, Oregon. She enrolled at OSC in 1937 and majored in Secretarial Sciences. Geil was also a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and served as house President her senior year. She likewise worked at OSC in the Administration Building as an operator for the college's telephone exchange.

Geil graduated from Oregon State in 1940, married in 1941, and worked in the electrical department of the Willamette Shipyard in Portland, Oregon during World War II. During this time, she was pregnant with her first child, Michael, who was born in September 1943. Her husband, Alan, had enlisted in the Army Air Corps during the war and served as a photographic reconnaissance cameraman, mainly in France and Italy. He was discharged in 1945 and became an engineer at Standard of California (later Chevron Oil Company) in Portland. In 1947 the family moved to Hawaii when Alan was promoted to Manager of Petroleum Operations for the mid-Pacific Islands. Later promotions led the McCallisters to relocate to San Francisco, Los Angeles and, for seven years, to London, England.

Alan retired in 1981, at which point he and June returned to Salem. The couple spent much of the next decade traveling in retirement. Alan passed away in 1998.

June McCallister died on April 25, 2016 in Salem, Oregon. She was the mother of three children - all of whom attended OSU and married Oregon State graduates - and nine grandchildren. At least one grandchild from each of McCallister's children's families has also attended OSU.