Joanne's Story

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Joanne Chloe Lang Callard

Joanne Callard died of natural causes in her apartment at Rivermont Assisted Living Home in Norman, Oklahoma, on Saturday, January 21 2017. She was 91.

Joanne was born to Grace Tomia and James Conger Lang on September 7, 1925, in Eads Colorado.

Joanne came from a long line of strong, successful independent women. Born five years after women in the U.S. obtained the right to vote, she passed the same day as the largest one day protest for human and women's rights in U.S. history. A lifelong democrat, Kappa Alpha Theta, and active member of the University Woman's Association, Joanne promoted women's issues her entire life.

Joanne graduated from Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado, in 1943 and from the University of Colorado with a fine arts degree in 1948. She married Robert Dunbar Callard in 1946 and settled in Lansing, Michigan, in 1950, where they raised their four children and established the R. D. Callard Structural Steel Company.

In 1973 the couple sold their business and moved to Telluride, Colorado. Joanne went back to school to get a teaching certificate at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. After Joanne and Robert divorced, Joanne moved to Norman, where she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters degree in Library Science in 1976. At 51 she started a new and extraordinary career in education and public service as a librarian at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Library.

Joanne eventually rose to become the Center's Associate Director and retired as a professor emeritus. From computerizing the medical library to being the president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Libraries/Education section, she led by example and tackled every challenge with extraordinary vigor and intellect; but as her citation conferring the title of professor emeritus states, her greatest achievement was her work with students to whom she taught research methods. An advocate and mentor for all, she embodied the highest standards of her profession.

After retiring Joanne traveled the world to see new varieties of birds, get to know different cultures, or touch and be touched by nature. She moved to Durango, Colorado, where she was active as a librarian, working to establish libraries at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church and Mercy Medical Center. She eventually moved back to Norman, Oklahoma, continuing her passion fo; library work at Saint John's Episcopal Church and Rivermont Retirement Home.

A competitor to the end, she was a ruthless bridge player and a diehard Sooner fan, unless they played University of Colorado. Imparting a strong work ethic, compassion for people, and a standard for excellence in her children, her knowledge of and curiosity about a plethora of subjects was remarkable. Read, read, read was her motto.

Joanne is survived by her four children, Jean Farris of Oklahoma City, Ruth Callard of Seattle Washington, Jeff Callard of Norman, Oklahoma and Jim Callard of Loreto, BCS, Mexico; eight grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. A small service has been held at Saint John's in Norman, Oklahoma, and a memorial service is planned for August. Donations may be given in her name to the Women's Resource Center, P.O. Box 5089, Norman, OK 73070.
Published on January 28, 2017
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